Responding to Disappointment and Failure

As you may have gathered from the posts I publish here, I’m a positive person. Because I focus on goals, taking risks, going for it, finding the silver lining, sharing compliments, being grateful, and so much more; I sometimes get comments from people that imply that my life is blessed, charmed, lucky – somehow disappointment and failure free.

Whatever.

I’m here to tell you that plenty of disappointments come through the Baana household. We disappoint one another. Friends and circumstances disappoint us. We live in Fargo so the weather regularly disappoints!

What might be different is how we react in our disappointment. Sure, at first we may rant, scream… even swear. Or pout. And then we continue to love each other, our friends, and even Fargo.

When it comes to circumstance, we need to move past the setback and move on. I’ve mentioned before that during these times my favorite question to ask is, “What have I learned from this experience?” As that question is answered, I see the reason behind the failure and figure out how to apply the learning going forward. At least I like to think that’s what happens. Sometimes the pouting goes on for a while before I get to that enlightened moment.

It goes back to what John C. Maxwell points out in his book Failing Forward: the key to overcoming disappointment/failure/set-backs doesn’t happen by changing circumstances. It begins with a personal desire to be teachable. It begins within us.

Continuing to paraphrase from the book… If you’re willing to do that, then you’ll be able to handle the disappointments, setbacks and failures that come your way.

Coaching: Courage

A friend of mine signed by the X this week – she signed up to go skydiving! I’m so glad it’s on her bucket list and not mine. Just the same, I’m really excited to see her commitment to move toward her goal. What I really love is the comment she shared when she posted her plans on facebook: Life is short. Need to start crossing things off the list. I’m starting with [the] scariest first.

Also loved the chorus of supportive voices responding to her status update. Simply fantastic.

With that in mind, I will ask the question I asked earlier in the week as we embark on this week’s mini coaching engagement. As always, I invite you to grab pen and paper to write down your answers as you really give these questions some thought.

What are you preparing for? Better yet, what slightly scary thing are you preparing for?

Who have you shared your plans with? Perhaps you’ve been keeping your plans to yourself. Private plans have little power.

No plans? What are your dreams? Been a while since you thought about that? May I boldly suggest you click on the Dreams Category on this site and get those muscles moving again? I guess I just did, didn’t I?

Dream. Set a goal that will move you toward it. Make a plan to get there. Sign by the X. Say it out loud.

Then be courageous and do it.

Post script: I plan to take Monday off in every way. Readers in the U.S., enjoy the holiday weekend and I’ll see you back here on Tuesday!

Courageous Todd

My husband, Todd, was very courageous several days ago. He went under the knife. Under the saw, actually, as he had his jaw cut and moved to repair what nature didn’t get quite right. For someone who has a tendency to get a bit woozy in most medical circumstances, this was a particularly brave act.

Oh! The preparation that went into THIS event!

As is always required as one starts off toward a big goal, he recognized that a change needed to be made and then, as my son Eli did in preparing for his trip to Africa, Todd started to dig into what his options were, what could be done, etc.

And then, as sometimes happens on our way to a goal, his efforts were delayed. We made the decision to move to Germany and trying to figure out orthodontic care while in Europe seemed too daunting a task to undertake. He put his plans on hold.

Big plans have a way of returning if they are something that we really want to do.

Upon returning to the U.S., Todd picked up where he left off and finally signed by the X. First came pulling teeth, then two years of braces, followed by all sorts of discomfort that someone with straight teeth will never understand.

And then he was ready to go.

It’s crazy how quickly it seemed to all come together after so many months of waiting for his bite to be exactly right. Funny how things fall together when we are ready…

I held his hand as he was prepped for surgery and he seemed very courageous to me. He was eager, excited and prepared. Maybe a little scared. Definitely ready.

His plan to be courageous paid off.

Preparing for Africa

In my earlier posts this week I mentioned missionaries as brave, courageous souls. I haven’t personally gone into the wilds of a third world country, but I do know a few people who have. A few quite close to me.

Ideology aside, making a commitment to take an effort like this on is monumental and life-changing. I know this because my oldest son, Eli, went on a missionary trip a few years ago. Mentioning missionaries in my post brought his experience to the forefront of my mind again. I started to think about how his decision to go to Cameroon and resultant preparation mapped to the transition discussion here.

In my case, I knew I needed to make a change. With my son, he knew he wanted to make a difference.

The next step for both of us was to figure out the change we wanted to make. The execution was a bit different for each of us as my research was more introspective and Eli, instead, spent a lot of time figuring out where he wanted to go, what organization to go with, and if he wanted to go it alone or with a parent along for the ride. (He left us behind, by the way.)

And then the financial and educational planning. Wow! I was so impressed with the campaign Eli waged to raise the $5000 he needed to collect to get to Africa. He did it and then some; on his own. Next, the education… I don’t know that he knew what he was getting into, but I think he would tell you that the four-week “boot camp” to prepare for his trip was harder than the trip itself! His mission was primarily to build an Aids Orphans Rescue Unit in Cameroon, so he had to know how to build. He learned. Quickly.

And then he was ready to go.

I was there when the buses picked Eli and his team up from their camp location in southern Florida to bring them to the airport to get them going on the first leg of their journey to Cameroon. Reflecting, courageous is how I saw him, but I don’t think he felt that way.

He was eager, excited and prepared. Maybe a little scared. Definitely ready.

And I was so proud.


Sign By the X

I missed something yesterday. Not to say that I was incorrect, but I did miss an important piece that goes into planning to be courageous. Preparation is the key component, likely about 95% of what accounts for being successfully brave. Are you thinking about it? Do you know what I missed?

Here’s the thing. We can do all the planning in the world but if we keep it to ourselves, we don’t have to ever do anything about it.

That’s right. Somewhere along the line someone has to “sign by the X.”

Soldiers enlist. Skydivers and bungee jumpers pay for the experience. Missionaries commit. Mountain climbers hire Sherpas. Firefighters apply for the job. At the very least, those who are planning to be brave say it out loud.

At some point they tell a loved one, a friend, what they are considering to do. And somewhere along the way someone encourages them. Finally it is said enough so it is simply fact.

I am a soldier. I am a skydiver. I am a bungee jumper. I am a missionary. I am a mountain climber. I am a firefighter. I am a professional coach.

So, what have you been preparing for but keeping to yourself? Perhaps it’s time to sign by the X. Enlist. Apply. Enroll. Pay. Commit.

Do what it takes to get started. Then plan to be courageous.

Find me on Facebook: Coach Carolyn

Courageous Preparation

Well there, I’ve done it. I’m out here on my own and I am, evidently, courageous.

Funny thing is, I’m not feeling all that courageous. I feel peaceful. Happy. Excited. Ready.

And, being as I am, I had to think about the juxtaposition of that. Why are so many people telling me I’m brave when I feel differently? Granted, I don’t feel cautious or worried. But I don’t feel particularly courageous, either.

Let’s, for a moment, think about courageous acts. Soldiers are courageous when they go into battle. Skydivers and bungee jumpers are pretty brave. People who go on missionary trips, they seem courageous to me. So do mountain climbers and firefighters. What do they have in common?

They prepare.

There are heroic instances of instant, on-command bravery that happen every day. Someone wrestles a gun out of a thief’s hand during a burglary. A bystander pulls someone from a wrecked car before it explodes. A child calls 911 as his parent lies helpless on the floor.

And then there is planned-for courage. Much of the world looks at this kind of courage and thinks, “that’s a little crazy.” For the person planning to be courageous, it doesn’t feel that way at all.

Take a skydiver as an example. According to www.skydiving.com, before a solo dive takes place the would-be jumper goes through five hours of training followed by seven jumps. Three to four of these jumps are with two instructors and the remaining jumps are with one instructor. By the time the skydiver jumps solo, do you think she feels brave? Perhaps.

I bet more than brave she feels happy, excited and ready. Maybe even peaceful.

So I’m not all that courageous. I’ve simply prepared to make a proverbial jump.

I’m ready. What are you preparing for?

Coaching: Lessons Learned

You might have been able to tell from this week’s posts that I’m a big proponent of finding lessons in what happens in life. As mentioned in Microsoft Lesson #3, I’m prone to step back and ask, “What did I learn from that experience?” More often than not, our experiences will teach us if only we listen. With that in mind, I’d like to close the week by leading you through a mini coaching engagement. I invite you to really think about and write down your answers.

Here we go…

When was the last time you paused to think about what life is teaching you? What are your life experiences showing you right now? What have you learned this week? Today?

And what have you learned from the business you work in? Has the corporate culture taught you a thing or two – as my time at Microsoft taught me? What are those things?

Not paying that kind of attention? How can you make the time to reflect? Lessons that pass us unacknowledged are often forgotten. What can you do to remember?

Reaching back to previous reflections on gratitude, is there anyone you need to thank for the lessons you’ve learned? Did someone give you an opportunity that helped you grow? If it was a lesson you learned “the hard way,” perhaps the people to thank are friends and family who put up with you while you were going through that time. Not all lessons come easily.

I shared just four lessons that I learned from Microsoft during my tenure. Simply going through the exercise to identify them reminded me of many more; lessons I will bring forward with me into my new career. I challenge you to go through the same exercise, too. If you’re like me, it will leave you with a warm feeling inside.

What a lovely way to leave… with warm thoughts and admiration for a company that taught me so much.

Microsoft Lesson #4 – Enjoy the Ride

As I mentioned on Monday, I’ve been feeling a little nostalgic which has sent me digging through pictures from work events during my years with Great Plains Software and Microsoft. Some pictures bring back memories of how hard we worked during that time – invariably followed with memories of the fun we had. Work hard, play hard, really has been the mantra.

I definitely enjoyed the ride. All the travel. All the picnics, baseball games and our unique-to-Fargo Holiday Wine and Cheese. All the amazing friends I’ve made along the way. Some of my best friends, in fact.

One habit that I picked up was to always plan time for friends when I travel – because there’s always someone I know where I land. Keeping in touch virtually is one thing but being able to enjoy each other’s time in person strengthens bonds and creates truly lasting relationships. I let people know that once they are in my circle of friends, I don’t easily let people go. They’ve been warned…

Work can be difficult and the politics can sometimes seem brutal, but enjoying the people around us is critical to how we feel about our work environment. A few years back, Gallup published a book about the need to have Vital Friends at work who support and help us and – I would interject – make sure we laugh and smile along the way.

Just like happiness, how much we enjoy our time at work is in our hands as well. We come with a daily attitude that lays the foundation for how the day will be; how hardships will be met.

Regardless of how hard the work may seem, I encourage you to choose to enjoy the ride.

Microsoft Lesson #3 – Never Stop Learning

When I joined Great Plains Software in 1994 I had somehow managed to work “Linux” into my resume but really, truly had precious little understanding of computers beyond how to spit out a resume from a word processing program. Thus began the sister to my career, life-long learning.

Thankfully Microsoft picked up where Great Plains left off, showing the same commitment to growing employees through training and development. I’ve participated in countless classes, seminars and retreats. My requests for books have never been denied. The latest business books are passed out to teams so everyone is reading and learning together. As a manager, I’ve OK’d a number of tuition reimbursement requests. Learning is a priority.

While learning has been supported in the places I’ve worked, I have to say that taking my personal education into my own hands has been just as critical as owning my career. In so many ways these are interconnected; sisters, as I stated above.

It’s also important to note that learning doesn’t only come from books, classes and webinars. When anyone on my team came to me with an issue they were having a hard time with, one of my first questions would always be “Have you learned anything from this?” I once had an offsite where we went curling and then came back and discussed what leadership lessons could be learned from our time on the ice. Really. You can learn from any experience if you take the time to sit back and digest it a bit.

I’m thankful that Microsoft fostered an environment supporting what John F. Kennedy said: Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.

What have you learned today?

Find me on Facebook: Coach Carolyn

Microsoft Lesson #2 – Own Your Career

You will likely not be surprised that a professional coach thinks you should own and take charge of your own career. It might surprise you that a company the size of Microsoft is a huge proponent of this as well. In fact, it may well be why I believe it so strongly.

For all the flaws with any performance system, one thing Microsoft does right is a mid-year check-in that focuses on career growth and where employees want to go next. In my career I have moved from being a technical individual contributor to a manager; from people management to project management; from project management back to being a manager; and the list goes on. The movement was possible because I knew where I wanted to expand my skills and when opportunity presented itself, I was ready.

What I’ve observed is that those who sit back and wait for those chances to come are often, years later, still waiting. These are the people who complain that they aren’t given enough training while others go buy books or shut themselves in a room with a new software program until they learn it. These people say they want to take on challenges but when offered one they back off, finding excuses why they can’t take something new on right now. They wish for change out loud but their actions speak differently.

And in Microsoft as in life, these people can ride for a while but then they begin to get left behind.

Really, it could be looked at as a sort-of risky proposition for Microsoft. I’m not the first person to take a look at my career and realize that the next step is going to be out the door. With that said, if people don’t pay attention to where they want to go in their careers they become disgruntled and unhappy. THAT is worse because employees like that are toxic and their displeasure spreads.

Take assessments to learn more about yourself. Pay attention to what you like to do. Dream about where you want to go next. If you are the boss, encourage your staff to do the same.

Don’t let your career simply happen to you. Own it.

Microsoft Lesson #1 – It’s a Big World

This is it – my last week at Microsoft! I thought that because I am heading into something new and exciting that I would be able to push aside the clichéd “mixed emotion” and simply depart the Fargo campus quietly on Friday with a smile on my face. I still plan to do that, but I have to admit that I’m feeling a little nostalgic as well. It has, after all, been a great ride.

With this on my mind, I thought it would be appropriate to share a few lessons I’ve learned from my decade at Microsoft. I could probably fill a month of blogging on the topic which will make it difficult to pare it back to just four this week. With that said, I’m up for the challenge!

The first thing that comes to mind is how much working at Microsoft has expanded my world view. My first trip off the North American continent was thanks to my job. More than travel, though, was the gained understanding that decisions made here in the U.S. can impact so many people – employees or customers – worldwide.

I’ve had the amazing opportunity to be in roles with global focus and, as such, questions come up around what the workers’ councils in European countries will think about our plans or how our Japanese customers will respond. My thought patterns adjusted to encompass possibilities that otherwise would have never occurred to me.

And now back to travel. Not only did my business travel allow for me to see much of Europe and a little bit of Japan, those frequent flier miles and hotel points enabled me to haul my family all over the place as well, accumulating wonderful memories in the process. Of course, the ultimate “trip” was when we moved to Germany for a year (also for my job), an experience that really changed how we all perceive people, politics, history and our lives.

I’m not sure how much international travel I would have done had I not worked for Microsoft. Certainly the chances that we would have lived outside of the U.S. would have been incredibly small without my career here. In that way, my Microsoft career has truly changed my life.

And there’s so much more…

Find me on Facebook: Coach Carolyn

Coaching: Transition

Now you know how it all went down for me as I made the decision to venture out on my own. So, what about your own potential transition? If the Met Life survey is accurate, one out of three of you are ready to find a new job in the next 12 months. That means quite a few of you are at least thinking about it. And even if it isn’t your job that you’re ready to change, transition certainly applies to movement in geography, homestead, relationships, education, and the list goes on. Thinking about potential transition in your life, let’s close the week by moving through a mini coaching engagement. As always, I invite you to really think about and write down your answers.

Here we go…

Where are you feeling dissatisfied? What could use changing? Maybe it’s your job, but maybe it’s something else. Got it?

Here comes the hard part – where do you really want to go next? What do you need to find out about yourself to move forward? What will really make you happy?

When you think about where you are and the place you envision you’d like to go, what gaps do you see in your education, knowledge level, or abilities? Are you gritty enough to go after it? If not, what could you do to bolster your tenacity? Are you ready to make a change? If not, what’s holding you back?

Finally, what other preparations are there that you would need to do? Do you need others to buy into your dream? Who can support you? What can you place around you to remind you of where you want to go? Who will you choose to hold you accountable?

As you bask in the realizations that just came to you, say your dream or goal out loud. How did that feel? Now say it as if it already has happened. I am a Doctor. I am physically fit. I live on the beach. I have my MBA. I speak Mandarin. I love my job. My trip to Chile was amazing.

Write it somewhere you can see it. Say it out loud to people who will be excited with you. Words have power and support our efforts to realize our goals.

Dream it. Realize it. Believe it because you CAN make it happen.

Happiness and success are up to you.

Ready to Go

Again for new readers: this week I am answering the question, “How did you decide to do this?” And THIS is my decision to leave my corporate job to begin my new business.

I knew I needed to make a change. I figured out the change I wanted to make. The educational and financial plans were being executed. The date of my departure from Microsoft was set in my head and even stated out loud to a few close friends.

And then my cheese moved.

Spencer Johnson’s parable kept coming to mind as circumstances dramatically shifted in my work life. My entire personal project plan was based on a September departure and then, in March, my boss announced his retirement. Regular readers will remember my thoughts about Bryan as he departed and he truly was a major component in why I was continuing my corporate career. His announcement was a trigger for me to reevaluate my own dates and when I did, I decided I was ready to go, too.

The groundwork I laid prepared me to be flexible when the opportunity presented itself. And once I decided, my plan turned into action.

I told my husband that I wanted to leave sooner versus later and he was supportive (whew!).

Before Bryan left, I told him my plan. He was happy for me.

Close friends and a few co-workers were in on my decision and they were excited on my behalf.

I kept saying it out loud. I changed my password to reflect the day I was leaving. I began to create my transition plan so that I could exit gracefully.

And then, I quit.

And now, I begin.

Preparing for Transition

First, a moment to bring those dropping in for the first time this week up to speed… I am in the process of answering the question, “How did you decide to do this?” And THIS is my decision to leave my corporate job to begin an entrepreneurial gig – coaching.

Step one was recognizing that I needed a change. Step two was figuring out what it is that I love to do. Step three brings us to today – preparation.

Preparation for this transition was very different for me than other times of change because this time I was very deliberate about it and knew where I was going to land. There were two important pieces that needed to come together for me: knowledge and finances.

From a knowledge perspective I knew I had the experience to be a coach but I hadn’t had the formal training. Well, that’s not entirely true either; I just didn’t have as much as I felt I needed to brand myself as a Professional Coach. Enter the University of Texas – Dallas and the Executive and Professional Coaching program which I am almost done with (woo hoo!). When I’m done I will have both a graduate certificate and all requirements met to get my certification with the International Coach Federation. I realized that having that industry recognition was something I personally needed to have in place before going forward with my own business.

And then there’s the issue of finances. As I mentioned, I am leaving a good job and in a few weeks my income will go down pretty dramatically. My intention is, of course, to get it back up pretty darn quickly but – as I’ve been reminding my family – there will be a blip. Not being a surprise, we’ve been paying off bills and making different choices. Here’s where I have to give a big shout-out to my family and thank them for their support. Clearly they believe in me or this piece would have been much harder than it has been. I am blessed.

This all required WAY more patience than I normally have. Historically I have eyed change and then jumped in with both feet, never mind the details!

I must say, this way has been better.

Find me on Facebook: Coach Carolyn

That Which Strengthens Me

Wow! Lots of hits on yesterday’s post – thank you for reading!

Given the topic of transition, I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised. USA Today recently reported that “Fed-up workers are seeking greener professional pastures: Slightly more than one in three hope to find a new job in the next 12 months, according to [a] MetLife survey, conducted late last year.” With about one-third of you thinking about transitioning too, this could be a pretty timely topic.

Continuing my story…

After some soul-searching I figured out a couple of things. First, I love facilitating and hosting groups, events, workshops, etc. I even carry this into my personal life when I host guests at our home or our lake cabin. I really enjoy making people feel welcome and like seeing them having a good time. If they can learn something too, even better! Next, I reminded myself how much I have enjoyed working toward personal career and learning goals with my teams over the years. Every meeting I’ve had that has revolved around “what should I do next?” has been completely energizing – and then watching as an individual takes on the goal and achieves it? Amazing!

Turns out the things that I enjoy use my top five strengths. There’s a reason I like to do them; they strengthen me. Now you have an idea why I’m such a believer in putting strengths to work.

In part I was quite lucky. Facilitating has been a big part of my job over the last couple of years and coaching opportunities have come up frequently as well. I couldn’t do them full-time within the structure of my organization, though. Right or wrong, I also didn’t feel totally equipped to do them full-time.

And that’s where tomorrow’s part of the tale will pick up…

Related Posts:
Transitioning
Use Those Strengths
Discover Your Strengths

Transitioning

I am in transition. This time, it’s big.

OK, several of the transitional times in my life have been big. Transition is a big deal, right? In all my other transitions the place where I was headed next had a paycheck coming from a large corporate entity. This time, I’m on my own.

To be specific, on May 20th I’ll hand in my badge at Microsoft and begin my entrepreneurial adventure as a full-time professional coach. I couldn’t possibly be more excited! It is pretty top-of-mind for me right now, so transition seems like an appropriate topic for the week.

As I’ve had the opportunity to share with co-workers and friends that I’m making a pretty huge career change, I’ve been hearing questions like this one: How (or when) did you decide to do this? Because I haven’t made this decision lightly, I do have an answer.

Before anything else, I had to get in touch with the fact that it was time for a change in my career. A career shift, that is. Not another internal move within the company; a more significant change. I have a GREAT job. I work for a good company with fantastic co-workers. And yet, something wasn’t quite right for me. Knowing that, I began to ask myself, “What do I love to do at work?” (Note: the question was not “Why am I unfulfilled when everything looks like it should be good?”)

This isn’t a small question and it takes time. As you have read in a post or two here, I passionately believe that people should do what they love and use their strengths. It probably comes as no surprise that this is where I started.

Then what? That’s for tomorrow…

Find me on Facebook: Coach Carolyn

Related Posts:
Use Those Strengths
Discover Your Strengths

Coaching: Happiness #2

Happiness is within your control. Research shows that there are several “happiness boosters” which are outlined in Creating Your Best Life and touched on briefly here over the last couple of weeks. They are: journaling, expressing gratitude, physical exercise, volunteer work and altruistic behavior, savoring happy memories, forgiving, applying your strengths, and meditation. As you think about your happiness and what you want to do to improve it, let’s close the week by moving through a mini coaching engagement. As always, I invite you to really think about and write down your answers.

Here we go…

As I mentioned last week, it’s important to know for yourself whether you truly believe happiness is within your control. If you still think that happiness happens outside of your control, I challenge you to pick one of the boosters and try it for a week or two to see what happens. Just a thought…

For those of you ready to dive in and try something new – which happiness booster triggered an interest for you? How excited are you to incorporate this activity into your life?

What will it take to make it a part of your daily routine? How can you change your environment to support your new commitment? Who can you ask to hold you accountable to do so?

How will you feel after you’ve been at your new activity a few weeks? What will show you that it has worked for you?

Personally, I’m committing to adding physical movement into each day. I’m working to find a few accountability partners. I also talked through various reminders I can place in my environment with my coach (yes, I have one!). Over the weekend I will put my little free-weights on my desk, sign up for an e-newsletter about exercise, and will bring my exercise ball into my office to substitute for my chair.

Wednesday’s post was definitely a pep-talk to get myself going! I hope you’re as excited as I am to get started on whatever it is that makes YOU happy.

Considering Meditation

As one of the eight happiness boosters, meditation is the one I have never regularly practiced and understand the least. It also has the most benefit to happiness in addition to improving overall health and well-being.

Often wrapped in New Age connotations, those of us in the main stream may have been hesitant to give meditation a try. But the more benefits that come to light, the more intrigued many have become.

Because of my inexperience, I won’t pretend to be the one who can tell you what you should do with this information. I’m simply sharing it. I will let you know that I’m doing my own research: checking out WebMD to see what the doctors have to say; searching through the tome of my belief system – The Bible – to see how meditation is represented there; and occasionally trying it out to see if it works for me.

The few times I have mindfully meditated, I found that it did bring a sense of calm, peace and serenity.

Serenity.

Calm.

Peace.

Happiness.

I may have to keep doing this.

Find me on Facebook: Coach Carolyn

Move Your Body!

Today I’m writing this as a pep-talk to myself as well as to you. Physical exercise is a happiness booster. We all know it’s good for us to do, so why do so many of us avoid it?

“Exercise is one of the best ways you can improve multiple areas of your life, including your happiness. Regular exercise not only releases endorphins into the bloodstream; it also helps people socialize with other exercisers, lose weight, and enjoy the outdoors.” [Excerpt from Creating Your Best Life]

What jumps out at me in this passage is that “it also helps people socialize with other exercisers.” As I enjoyed coffee with a dear friend this morning, we talked about how we separate our time with friends and our exercise. What if we combined the two? Crazy thought!

The more I think about it and look back to when I did have some success in adding exercise to my schedule, there was a support system in place. Either my husband was exercising with me or I had a group of friends who was checking in with one another on email or I committed to a series of classes that I paid for in advance. There was accountability.

And so I think I’m ready to seek out someone or some structure to hold me accountable to get my body moving. It’s just too much to hope that I’ll be able to hold myself accountable!


Volunteer for Happiness

“Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough, money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them. So, spread your love everywhere you go.”
~Mother Teresa

In giving we do, in fact, receive.

According to the authors of Creating Your Best Life, “Researchers who studied adult men in Michigan found that those who volunteered their time, money, and energy felt happier than—and also outlived—their less altruistic peers.”

There have been times in my life when I’ve been much better at donating my time and giving to others and I need to find that place again. Let’s be honest, it’s not always easy figuring out what it is that we want to do, where we want to do it, and when. Having to make those choices can feel daunting which makes it pretty easy to put off making any decision at all.

And yet as I write this I’m remembering volunteering and how good it felt, particularly at times when the interaction with those in need was an immediate exchange and I could see the gratitude in their eyes; hear their direct thanks. Thinking about this makes me wonder what stops me and what I think it is that’s more important than this.

Knowing that it also contributes to my happiness… perhaps this will spur me into action.