Four Emotions that are Simply a Waste of Time
May19

Four Emotions that are Simply a Waste of Time

 If you follow Facebook or LinkedIn there are any number of articles appearing in your feed (or at least in mine) each day about all the little things successful people do to be successful. So what happens when either you do all these things (or at least enough of them) and yet you seem to be stuck? Why do some seemingly successful people always feel stressed or anxious? Why do some people apologize over and over again? Why do some people fail and keep going, while others fail and call it quits?

Maybe when we get desperate or anxious or lose our way, even when we think we are doing all the right things, maybe what we really need is a change of perspective….

I talk a lot about gratitude because I have found it to be a foundational component of my own feelings of happiness and success. Gratitude is a commonly accepted character trait and practice of successful, happy people. If you read certain texts or books you might come away thinking that gratitude is the magic bullet to a happy life.

But then how do you explain the experience of a highly successful entrepreneur who practices gratitude and yet is perpetually anxious? Or how can we explain the thousands of stay at home moms (and dads!) who have everything they need, who adore their children, who are so grateful to have the possibility to stay home, and yet they feel incomplete or stressed?

They say you are a success, but you don’t feel it?

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Le Sigh

To start off today, let me be frank, you may not agree with my point of view, but that is the beauty of living in a free world. We can agree to disagree. This will be the last politically bent post you see from me for a while, perhaps for three years or more. I am going to focus on my own business and my family, but before I do so, I want to cause a few people to question their own beliefs. To question what you think are the meanings of “left” and “right,” “conservative” and “liberal.” Who makes these definitions, who promotes them in the media, and what is it that we as citizens really want and need from our governments?

Living overseas, living in an interethnic and interracial family causes me to question the status quo more often than I would have expected before I made the plunge. I used to think I was well rounded and open-minded, but what I learn each year, is that although I have basic values at my core, my beliefs and my experiences are very one sided. As an American, I am continually challenged to see things in different ways. READ MORE HERE…

 

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Day 24: ATMs and Parking in France

For better or worse, me writing for 30 minutes every day (except for the days where it I forgot to make it a priority), means you get to see more of me. The real me. Not just the “me” I show at work or on Facebook or out for a cocktail.

This morning I got up grumpy. Possibly had to do with the fact that I slept ⅔ of my night laying on a mixed pile of stuffed animals and a wood floor. Possibly because it was the fourth night in a row Nana woke up sometime between 2 AM and 3 AM crying. And probably the 14th consecutive night that she went to bed sometime after 9:30 PM, instead of around 7:30 PM like her peacefully sleeping little brother…or even her big brother.

We are not exactly sure what is causing her sleep problems. Part of it I think is a lack of sleep. Ha. That is something you get to learn as a parent. Sleep deprived small people sleep worse. Not better. Exhausting your kid out to get them a good night’s rest never works (except for good physical exhaustion like swimming or hiking).

Dad is also away again this week. And we didn’t finish cleaning the house or doing the laundry this weekend. I hate starting my Monday with a messy house. HATE. IT. And, I am not particularly fond of solo parenting either. It is so much more fun as a team.

Where do French ATM’s Go on Holiday? 

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Day 18: Goals

“Whether we have happiness or not depends on the seeds in our consciousness. If our seeds of compassion, understanding, and love are strong, those qualities will be able to manifest in us. If the seeds of anger, hostility and sadness in us are strong, then we will experience much suffering. To understand someone, we have to be aware of the quality of the seeds in his consciousness. And we need to remember that his is not solely responsible for those seeds. His ancestors, parents, and society are co-responsible for the quality of the seeds in his consciousness. When we understand this, we are able to feel compassion for that person. With understanding and love, we will know how to water our own beautiful seeds and those of others, and we will recognize seeds of suffering and find ways to transform them.”

Thich Nhat Hanh

Spiritual Goals

  1. Being Grounded:

Most of my life I have experienced a strange dichotomy; when the shit hits the fan, I tend to be as cool as a cucumber. I can see right away what needs to be done to provide the most effective triage or pull off the show without anyone ever knowing that something was amiss. At the same time, when my close relations (my son, my husband, my mother) do something that angers me, I can lose that cool with the flip of a switch. I have never been proud of this ability of mine, but I have discovered in the last year, that it is not only emotionally uncomfortable, but it is also physically uncomfortable. It makes my head hurt and my heart race. And I probably look like someone who is going to blow a gasket. And so, I pledge, I set the goal this year, to learn to keep my cool and talk it through later. I need to find a way to ground myself when the switch has been flipped. Maybe it is meditation, maybe it is awareness, maybe it is setting the goal here in front of you, publicly.

2. Finding Connection:

Some people hate Facebook. Some people can’t help Facebook. I adore Facebook, I am full of gratitude for Facebook. Why? Because I am an extroverted shy person. Yes. You read that right. I charge my batteries by social interaction, and yet, I am terrified to interact socially. I am always afraid (and I have been since I was a kid) of bothering people. And so, I give you my number or my email and I wait for YOU to call or write me. If you call me, and I get distracted (which is easy for me to do), then I am embarrassed to call you back, because, well, it’s been 3 weeks. And then I never call.

And so, Facebook makes my life fuller. I am so excited when someone from my past finds me and connects. I love watching your children, your dogs, your car problems, and seeing how our “core being” really stays the same after all these years. I’ll use an example, there was a young New Yorker who joined our staff at the Boulderado years ago. At first, his New Yorker attitude kind of got on the nerves of our Boulder groove, but after awhile, folks couldn’t stay annoyed at someone who had so much love of life, a twinkle in his blue eyes, and a perpetual sense of humor.

I haven’t seen him in person in a good 15 years but found him on Facebook a few months ago and I haven’t been disappointed. Despite the ups and downs, car problems, you name it, everything he posts makes me laugh. I have to control myself from commenting all the time because I don’t want to be that weird stalker from the past. Anyhow, I digress. So back to my goal of connection. This year I pledge to let people in my life know that they matter to me. I pledge to let go of my fear of “bothering” people and instead focus on showing people they matter. I have ended up doing “career services” writing resumes and LinkedIn

This year I pledge to let people in my life know that they matter to me. I pledge to let go of my fear of “bothering” people and instead focus on showing people they matter. I have ended up doing “career services” writing resumes and LinkedIn profiles because it gives me so much pleasure to help people find their inner light and shine it on the world.

How will I achieve this goal? Well, I will start small. First I am going to call my Aunt(s) from time to time. Just like I used to call my grandmother. And then from there, I am going to write a note every week. A hand-written note so, between now and next year, I plan to write 52 notes “petit mots” to share with my world the things that make me smile. And I hope, that by next year I will feel more connected with stronger personal relationships and feel less like a Facebook stalker. 😉

3. Visualization and Gratitude Practice:

I am going to continue a daily practice of gratitude, thinking concretely about all that has blessed me and my family and friends. I will visualize this gratitude love and light going out into the world, and creating a richer fuller world not just for me, but for everyone. We live in an amazing world, filled with amazing people and amazing opportunity. I set the goal to continue to water the good seeds. To create, to manifest spiritual, physical, mental and financial wealth and richness for all of us.

Mental Goals

  1. Meditation:

I set the goal to meditate daily. At least 5 minutes. And once per week for 30 minutes. The times in my life that I have had the most clarity and had the greatest ability to tackle life’s little ups and downs have been when I had a regular meditation practice. Having kids, especially little ones that get up at 6 AM to pee, makes this a bit of a challenge. That said, for the last year or so I have been using the Breathe app on my phone. Many of the meditations are only 5 or 6 minutes long. There is one called “Lion Mind” that I am particularly fond of. When I am tired and unfocused when I feel the world is all rushing in to crush me or when I forget to apply my oxygen mask first, I have found that even a 5-minute meditation can be as restorative as a good night’s sleep. It. Is. Amazing.

You might be wondering why meditation is not under my spiritual goals, it could be, but for me (and for science), meditation has been shown to have the power to change the way we think. Meditation and prayer can be spiritual practices, but they are also mental practices. Personally, I am easily distracted. Too often I am like a dog chasing a tennis ball, and not like an owl keeping guard on my neighborhood. To be a good master of my own destiny and to be a compassionate spouse and partner, to be an effective and loving parent, I need to transform my dog mind into an owl mind. Which takes me to my next goal.

2. Effectiveness & Efficiency:

Life’s a funny dichotomy. I can plan something from top to bottom, set business goals and then live my personal life haphazardly. This is definitely a consequence of applying the oxygen mask to others around me first and so a major goal for me this year is to be effective in my personal life. Honestly, I am not 100% sure what this goal looks like in implementation, but my intent is that I want to be able to cross items off of my personal and family care list, to feel less like my life controls me and more like I control my life. To stop and make sure I have what I need before I run out the door (and back in 3 times). To actually make it to the grocery store with my list in hand. To declutter our house and my mind! Perhaps this entails daily or weekly goal setting on the home front.

3. Grammar in English and French:

After three years in the French school system, my son can both out grammar me and out speak me. My spoken French isn’t bad, but honestly, I have never cared much for grammar and at this point in my life it is starting to get a bit embarrassing. J’ai honte que je fasse encores trops de fautes quand je parle et quand j’écris le français. Même en anglais, je ne sais pas biens les règles de grammaires. I know intuitively what is correct and what is incorrect, but I don’t know know the rules.

This year I will study my French grammar and refresh my English grammar. If I wish to be an effective writer, speaker, storyteller, copy editor and proofreader, then I better mind my commas and my gerunds. I certainly don’t want to just Eat, Shoot & Leave. Hee hee!

Physical…back tomorrow with my physical goals …

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Day 17: Murphy’s Law of Goal Setting

Goal Setting.

I started my day with the intention of writing for 30 minutes and goal setting this morning, while I drank a cup of black coffee and the munchkins were still in PJs, content to watch something on Netflix. The Universe had another plan in-store, as I quickly realized when my nearly new (Christmas Present 2016) Macbook kept crashing after I logged in. I followed the instructions for a safe restart on the Apple website and finally had to submit a ticket to support. After about 30 minutes on the phone, being walked through various diagnostics, Apple support kindly had me reinstall my OS.

Deep breathing and a nice gratitude practice got me through it all with relatively little distress. I don’t generally store anything on my computer itself, everything is “in the cloud,” so I was not particularly worried about data loss; however, I was worried about a working computer. When you work remotely, sending off your computer to get fixed for two weeks is not exactly ideal! Apparently, reinstalling an OS is quite time to consume, so finally, around 7 PM this evening I was finally able to login. Whoop! Happy Dance! Not only did it work, but I was delighted to be greeted by the same tabs that I’d left open in Chrome and Safari when I signed off last night. As far as I can tell, nothing has been lost.

I don’t know exactly what happened or why, but Support thinks that it may have been an update to an App. My computer requested to install some updates when I shut down last night and since the issue seemed to happen after I logged in (not when I turned my computer on), my contact thought it likely that an App/update is probably to blame. This means that tomorrow I’ll have to look through my Apps and see if any of the are known to break computers.

But for now, I find myself here at 10:20 PM after the kids are in bed, with a cup of tea at my side, squeaking in a few goals and my daily dose of writing. I think one goal I may need to have, is to figure out what I need to do to implement a backup plan for working if my laptop goes out…ha!

My 2017 Goals center on being “my best self.” “You can help others more by making the most of yourself than in any other way,” writes Wallace Wattles in the Science of Getting Rich. Or as they say, put your oxygen mask on first, before helping those around you. This is a difficult challenge for many of us, especially for moms. It is so easy for moms to get caught up in making sure everyone else around me has on their oxygen mask that sometimes I forget to even breathe. And it is not much better when I am working, the desire to put my best foot forward and serve my clients, means that it is all too easy to find myself working at 10 PM or skipping my run, to get something finished. And this needs to come to an end.

There are three categories of goals and one overarching goal, which I have already mentioned. My overarching goal is to create an income stream that allows me express my desires and achieve the function of which I am capable, and provide opportunity for those around me.

  1. Spritiual
    1. Grounded: Most of my life I have experienced a strange dichotomy; when the shit hits the fan, I tend to be as cool as a cucumber. I can see right away what needs to be done to provide the most effective triage or pull-off the show without anyone ever knowing that something was amiss. At the same time, when my close relations (my son, my husband, my mother) do something that angers me, I can lose that cool with the flip of a switch. I have never been proud of this ability of mine, but I have discovered in the last year, that it is not only emotionally uncomfortable, but it is also physically uncomfortable. It makes my head hurt and my heart race. And I probably look like someone who is going to blow a gasket. And so, I pledge, I set the goal this year, to learn to keep my cool and talk it through later. I need to find a way to ground myself when the switch has been flipped. Maybe it is meditation, maybe it is awareness, maybe it is setting the goal here in front of you, publicly.
  2. Mental
    1. Meditation: I set the goal to meditate daily. At least 5 minutes. And once per week for 30 minutes. The times in my life that I have had the most clarity and had the greatest ability to tackle life’s little ups and downs have been when I had a regular meditation practice. Having kids, especially little ones that get up at 6 AM to pee, makes this a bit of a challenge. That said, for the last year or so I have been using the Breathe app on my phone. Many of the mediations are only 5 or 6 minutes long. There is one called “Lion Mind” that I am particularly fond of. When I am tired and unfocused, when I feel the world is all rushing in to crush me or when I forget to apply my oxygen mask first, I have found that even a 5 minute meditation can be as restorative as a good night’s sleep. It. Is. Amazing.
    2. French: After three years in the French school system, my son can both out grammar me and out speak me.
  3. Physical

Time’s up for the day…I will be back tomorrow. My goal is to set at least three goals for each category. Don’t worry, I’ll get the best of Murphy yet!

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Day 3
Apr03

Day 3

Exciting title: Day 3.

It sounds like an HBO thriller title. Day 3 is just about when the shit really hits the fan for zombie attacks, outbreaks, aliens, you name it. In reality, I don’t have anything quite so shocking planned. In fact, breaking all rules of writing, I started this process without even considering my audience, so if you are here for zombies and aliens, you may have to wait a few days and I might not deliver. When I set the intention to write for 30 days, I didn’t really think about my audience because the goal in my commitment is very personal. I should have known better. My mom, of course, is part of my audience. She is probably just emitted a small gasp because I typed the word “shit” and in general, I have a “no swearing,” motto.

My dad, who has already been the subject of my writings, is also my audience. My dad has unfortunately been in the hospital with pneumonia for the same number of days that I have been writing (plus a few hours as he arrived there around 2 AM). This, of course, means that I have a second dedicated addition to my audience. If you are reading this and you are not my mom nor my dad, then I have a bonus audience, which is quite exciting, but also a tad bit nerve wracking.

Committing to writing for only 30 minutes per day, means that to maintain my sanity and keep my personal and my professional to-do lists in order, I cannot write for 30 minutes and then spend the next 4 hours rewriting. I actually have to stop after 30 minutes. I think I am beginning to understand why Thoreau ran off to the woods. I actually love writing and just getting my ideas out there so much, that I could easily run off to apond in the woods (or maybe a mosquito free beach in the sun). Which is an interesting segway, I hope my dad like’s stream-of-consciousness writing (I think he may not…).

The year that I lived in Boston, I was lucky to know a few folks in the area. One of them happened to be the professor who taught my Scientific Writing Course at CU Boulder. She was now working for the Library at MIT and she lived on Walden Pond. Well, actually she lived on a pond (beautiful view) in Concord, MA. I don’t recall if she specifically lived on Walden Pond. Given my pledge to be authentic, I suppose I shouldn’t start by bending the truth, even for the sake of a good story. Especially, since Sally taught scientific writing, which aims for accuracy. Bad karma would most likely result from bending the truth here and now, and so I will keep to the details, as perfectly or imperfectly, as my human recall allows.

For someone raised in an academic and not a materialistic household (my mom always worked at the University of Colorado), moving to Boston was a bit like moving to Disney Land. Probably a bad analogy for 50% of my readers, but my point is, not only does Boston have Harvard and MIT, it has the Freedom Trail, the Old North Church of Paul Revere legend,  it has Harvard Square (think Car Talk) and First Unitarian Church. Ralph Waldo Emerson was a Unitarian, as were many other Enlightenment thinkers and writers. Technically, most of these things that I am referencing are actually in Cambridge, MA, but I think you get my point. Living in Boston and her surrounding metropolitan realm, I was in the theoretical, lost in the clouds, thinking persons Heaven.

As I mentioned in my lead-up blog post, published on my professional blog last week, I used to pass my free-time simply walking the streets. If only I had a pedometer or an iPhone in 2000-2001, I probably put a good 10,000 steps to my name every day. Sometimes I got up early and got off my train before I had to change from the Green Line to the Red Line to get to downtown. My ride started at Cleveland Circle and continued until Park Street, where I would switch to the Red Line, but if I got off early, at Fenley Park, Boylston or Copley Square I could walk along and by the old Redstone rowhomes, the tree-lined streets, and Boston Commons. Coming from the wilderness and plains of Colorado to the density and history of Boston made me feel like a belonged to something bigger.

To be continued…

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Finding Common Ground Part I
Nov14

Finding Common Ground Part I

Muddled Waters

The Rabbit Hole  

Following the election last week, I had to admit that I had become addicted to enticing articles, flashy images, and straight-up click-baits.  Like Alice, I found myself becoming smaller and smaller, in a world of miss-information. I had fallen down the rabbit hole and I was disappearing amidst the dissonance created by runaway social media, and specifically Facebook.  I needed to find some peace and my way out of the rabbit hole. I deleted the Facebook App from my phone and forbade myself access to Facebook in any form for two days. On the third day, I let myself sign-on via my laptop and committed to doing so only once a day, for an unspecified period going forward.

Your Monday Briefing

To satiate my Expat need for news of the United States of America, I signed up for online access to the New York Times (NYTimes). This morning, as I swiped open my morning online NYTimes, I was greeted by the Europe Edition of “Your Monday Briefing.” For the most part my “briefing” fell into the category of par for the course, but then I came to this: “Facebook’s executives held meetings with staff members and the company’s policy team to try to assuage concerns that misinformation and fake news articles shared on the platform had influenced the election’s outcome.” Hallelujah! Amen. It’s about time. I stopped reading here and hopped out of bed. I was ready to face the day eyes wide open, knowing that somewhere, someone important is actually concerned with our sanity, and with the dissonance created by social media and its ability to impact our lives and our world.

Meditation

After getting my kids to school and to the nursery, I headed out for a run to clear my mind and honor my body. At the end of my workout, I decided to enjoy the sun and clear skies by taking the opportunity to meditate on a bench overlooking the lake at Parc de Castillon, where I had just completed my run.  While I tried to focus on my breath, I found my mind intent on reviewing the past week, but eventually it came around, and I found a few moments of peace. While I was gazing calmly at the lake, a few ducks took flight and the water on the lake became slightly disturbed muddling the reflections that a moment before had been so clear.

file-14-11-2016-15-35-37Muddled Water

The word “muddled” brought my mind abruptly back to the Facebook announcement on the NYTimes site. The idea of reflecting water, especially in meditation, is often used as a metaphor for a true snapshot of reality – calm water doesn’t lie – it simply reports back an accurate reflection of reality. This is what news should do. Of course, the news is reported by humans, and each of us has our own biases and backgrounds, but historically (say, before 1980 – ok, maybe 2000), journalists acknowledged their existing biases, and did a relatively decent job of providing consistent and accurate reporting of local, national and world events. Indeed, the press has long been called the Fourth Estate, the fourth check to balance and hold accountable the three official branches of the US government.

Unfortunately, water disturbed by playful ducks or turbulent weather loses its ability to reflect. First, the image becomes muddled, and then it is lost in its entirety. This is what has happened to our news. Not only has our government become weighted down by bureaucracy and our politicians bought by Wall Street, but our press has gone to the ducks.  The internet has been called the great equalizer because the freedom of access to information has the potential to provide clarity, to provide accurate reflections from numerous points of access, to share knowledge in places and in corners of the world that were previously dark. Some online news sites have indeed achieved this goal with relative consistency, and online courses, such as the MOOCs provided through EdX are changing access to education and knowledge. Unfortunately, journalism, as it was once known, has for the most part been lost in the swamp of social media.  Real newsgroups chasing dollar signs have become blurred with individual bloggers or and so-called pop-up “newsgroups.” All of them have run away with hidden agendas and often indiscernible biases to create, to bait and to launch storms of misinformation.

Water Reflecting

A few years ago there was concern that our online consumption and media consumption of news had become a little muddled, but traditional sources of news still provided reporting in a relatively consistent manner and we could rely on historically acknowledged reporting biases. No one expected that an article from Forbes would be anything but fiscally conservative. And even the Huffington Post, new type of media, had a clearly known liberal bias. And then the waters got dirty, dollar signs and greed further weekend traditional newsrooms, shutting them down and canceling budgets for true investigative journalists. Facebook made it possible to share articles and it started suggesting “similar pieces that we might like,” with zero accountability of fact checking or even judging the authenticity of the site that published the “news.” Bloggers and anyone with a keyboard and an internet connection, now suddenly had access to the public. And, in the fight for click-through dollars the Washington Post (now the WashPo), Forbes and just about everyone else loosened their publishing guidelines. Discretely at first, and then in sudden, frightening waves,  the opinions of biased bloggers plugging real agendas started to fly across our Facebook feeds, discretely claiming authenticity because they had been published on the Forbes or the Washington Post weblog sites. To make matters worse, our TV news and everyone else joined the game, quoting, misquoting, distributing without fact checking. Our journalists have fallen overboard, and the public is caught down the rabbit hole, while the queen shouts “off with her head!”

Drowning Journalists

I may have turned off Facebook to find my way up the rabbit hole, but I signed up for a paid version of the New York Times, to prevent the drowning of yet another bastion of journalists. I will confess that I have long been a critic of NYTimes paid access – I was once a paid print subscriber and then an early online convert — swearing to never read them after they blocked my free access. The New York Times may have a progressive bias, but it is a known bias and they have publicly made an effort to post conservative editorials over the years, to create balance and highlight their bias. The New York Times is indeed an outlier in a world of misinformation, and for me, they are also part of the path back to sanity and calm clear water.  We need to find a way to separate our social media and opinion bloggers, from those that report the news.  Social media is indeed vital to our freedom as a people and it is our right to express our opinions; however, when a lake reflects back the trees or mountains on her banks, she does not add her opinion or try to change their color from green to purple. Journalism needs to be water reflecting.

Common Ground

To help clear our muddled waters, my contribution, to start is this coming series on finding our Common Ground. I will be trying to publish several posts each week, so please excuse any grammatical or technical errors, with three small ones and a traveling spouse, if I got caught in a quest for perfection, I’ll never publish a word!

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Give Me Candid; Not Candy

I have always admired candid and authentic individuals. According to Myers-Briggs, I am an ENTJ, which means I am naturally candid with a propensity for leading, thinking logically and strategic planning, and I have a strong personality. I can’t argue with or against these character traits, as I see them all as strengths, and yet I have learned that being aware of my weaknesses is nearly as important as knowing my strengths. In fact, my strengths are often directly tied to my weaknesses. My propensity for thinking or conducting research can make it hard for me to find my focus. I can be logical to a fault. Sometimes my natural response to events is just a little too candid! Sometimes my sense of logic causes me to lack empathy. On the other hand, I love to laugh and I would always prefer to find the humor in a bad situation than to wallow in pit of sorrow. I’d prefer to be calmly candid than overly dramatic, I’d prefer to be authentic.

My maternal grandmother was a mover and shaker, a straight-talker.  When I was little I wanted to be her (or Indiana Jones) when I grew up. My grandmother was the ultimate caretaker, one of those mythical creatures, up before the sun with her pearls on, who could bake a loaf of bread, round-up a herd of cattle, and feed a calf, all before most people even put their feet on the ground. When my grandmother had finished with a phone conversation, she did not hesitate or hem and haw, she simply said, “well, I’ve got to go, goodbye.” And she hung up the phone. My grandmother earned folks’ respect, she loved and she was loved in return, and most importantly, she was authentic. I think it’s likely that my grandmother was an ENTJ.

There are 16 personality types identified by Myers-Briggs, and ENTJ is one of the least common, especially for women. Some women, like my grandmother, seem to find a way to peacefully exist with society, without losing their authenticity. I on the other-hand, as a woman, have at times found my personality type to be a challenge. Sometimes I smother my instinct to lead or I pretend that I don’t have a strategic solution, when I do. I often set goals, but lack the focus to achieve them. At times I shy away from speaking candidly when I should, which can result in an ill-advised burst of anger later. Sometimes, I lack authenticity and I get frozen, wondering exactly who I am. When I am feeling uncertain, it’s often easier to drizzle a glaze of sugar on something bitter or to cover harsh reality with a nice thick coat of sweet frosting. And yet, I have learned that a sugar glaze might turn out to be sickeningly sweet, whereas an authentic conversation is like a good cup of strong coffee. Energizing and to the point.

As each year passes, I am more aware of my weaknesses and I am better able to make a conscious effort to be authentic. As an ENTJ, I am a firm believer in setting goals and personal improvement. Each year on my birthday, I set a few goals to work on for the year. When I turned 35, I set-out to do things that made me fearful. A few weeks after setting this goal, I was given the opportunity to go paragliding. If I had not set my birthday goal, I would have made and excuse and anxiously skipped out. Instead, I stepped into my fear and discovered the true meaning of courage. Paragliding is a simple and accessible way to literally experience conquering one’s fear. Unlike jumping from a plane, which is totally insane, the para-glider runs down the side of a mountain (scary) until the wind picks up the parachute (safe like a baby) and she glides off the mountain and up into the sky like a balloon. If I had not set this goal, I would still probably not understand the true parlay between fear and courage.

This year, I have made a handful of goals that cover the financial, professional and personal realms, and all of them depend on my principal goal, which is to be authentic in my speech, my thoughts and my actions. To paraphrase Michael Jackson, if you want to change the world, look in the mirror, and start with yourself! And so, when you see or hear from me this year, don’t be surprised when I give you candid, not candy!

Candid: expressing opinions and feelings in an honest and sincere way.
Authentic: real or genuine : not copied or false; true and accurate; made to be or look just like an original.
Definitions copied from Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary online June 9, 2015.

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