Adapt or Go Back?

dreamstimefree_40306Someone changed my default browser. I’m usually pretty adaptable, but I have to tell you – this has thrown my game off a bit this week.  This new browser doesn’t know me and, therefore, doesn’t know my passwords.  Of course, I don’t know my passwords either – because my other browser knows them for me.

And no, I haven’t changed it back.  It’s bugging me but I haven’t done anything about it.  Certainly I’m technical enough to make the switch.  The thing is, I don’t know why it was changed.  Of course, I also keep forgetting to ask because it’s only on my mind when I click on a link from an email….  I also haven’t decided to adapt to the change.

I bring this up because it got me thinking about change and adaptability.  Sometimes there are little things we have complete control over that we let get under our skin.  We spend time irritated with the disruption and maybe with the person we see as the cause of the change and yet take no action to relieve our own discomfort.

So I’m going to change the browser back to what it was (family, you’ve been warned) and I’m also going to pay attention to see if there are other things in my life that I’m treating this way.  What else is bothering me that I could do something about and haven’t?  Where am I unnecessarily seeing myself as a victim?

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a computer setting to change.

Savoring the Moment

This weekend we had one of those too rare family meals where everyone stayed at the table for hours after the food was gone.  I recently learned that my son’s girlfriend hadn’t seen any pictures of him when he was little, so out came the photo albums… along with many stories to tell.

I hope we didn’t bore her.  For the rest of us, it was clear that we were relishing our precious memories.  Having the chance to share those with her anew made us cherish them even more.

Savoring, as we did over our extended meal, is an activity that brings us happiness in the present.  According to Marin E. P. Seligman in his book Authentic Happiness, happiness in the present is part of the three-legged stool of happiness.  (The other two are “satisfaction about the past” and “optimism about the future.”)  We can actively pursue savoring through these five techniques:

  • Sharing With Others: This is what my family did as we shared photographs and memories.
  • Memory Building: Whatever is happening, take a moment to preserve it in your memory.  This could be done by taking a mental snapshot or by obtaining something physical, like a souvenir.
  • Self-congratulation: To quote Dr. Seligman, “Don’t be afraid of pride.  Tell yourself how impressed others are, and remember how long you’ve waited for this to happen.”
  • Sharpening Perceptions: This is all about paying attention to the details.  What spices can you taste in your meal?  How does the house smell when you arrive as a guest?  How does one side of your body feel versus the other while you sit by a fire?  Can you pick out the harmony in a song?
  • Absorption: Just as it sounds, allow yourself to be absorbed in the moment.  Don’t think.  Simply feel it.

Any of these activities is something each of us can do on the spot, right now.  More importantly, we can choose to savor moments when we’re not feeling happy in the present.  Try it out and you’ll likely find that this list will turn a sullen mood around.

Still A Grateful Kid

We all have so many reasons to be grateful.  In particular, I’m grateful for the amazing people around me. Like many of you, I have incredible friends, family and colleagues who I’m surrounded by each day. From all those people, today I’m going to focus on my parents.

The closer we grow to our friends, the more we often learn about their upbringing and their relationships with their parents. And the more I learn, I realize how blessed I am. I grew up in a pretty strict home with high expectations. It was also filled with love and support.

When other kids were told that they wouldn’t amount to much, I was told that I could be anything I wanted to be. My dad thought that anything I wanted to be would come to me more quickly if I sought a business degree… but that’s another story. They supported me as I tossed around ideas of being a flight attendant, a hair stylist, and a veterinarian. And they continued to support me as I made my decision to follow my future husband to the university he attended in pursuit of that business degree that my dad was pretty much right about. And when I decided to quit after three years, supportive again (though they may have thought I was nuts!).

Now it’s years later and my parents show up for every possible function that our kids are a part of. They nailed and sawed and varnished our lake cabin as we renovated.  While he was in Afghanistan, my mom sent care packages to my brother almost every week, frequently with her homemade biscotti. As adults, we continue to know that we are loved, supported and cherished.

On top of all this, they are fun to be around, too. They are people I would choose as friends if I hadn’t been blessed to have them as my parents.

So how could I not be filled with gratitude? Love you Mom and Dad…

Grateful Remembrance

Today is a powerful anniversary for our country.  As I, like many of you, look back at that terrible day; what I remember most is being grateful.  Terrified.  Horrified.  Sick.  And grateful.

If your workplace was like mine, everything stopped and we all gathered around a TV in a common area of our building.  My husband and I worked at the same place, so we soon found each other and watched the day unfold together, surrounded by several coworkers who were – and still are – close friends.

The conversation echoed with many “We were just there,” statements, said with disbelief and shock.  This is why I was grateful.  It was awful to see and impossible to understand, but we were together.  My husband and friends who had been in NYC just a few days before were safely in Fargo.  We were spared frantic calls trying to place whereabouts.  Or worse.  Spared the worry that could have been added to the day.

Knowing that it could have easily gone the other way created sincere, deep empathy for our kindred Americans going through the experience.  So many of us have been to NYC and so many of us love it there that it felt close to home, even when it wasn’t.

Eleven years later I am still grateful.  I’m grateful to the men and women who have risked their lives both in the Middle East and here on our American soil in attempts to make our lives safer.  I’m grateful that the people of New York and the country chose to make a beautiful monument to honor those whose lives were sadly taken that day.  And I am, of course, profoundly grateful to have my husband with me in Fargo where he belongs.

You can be sure that the American spirit will prevail over this tragedy. ~Colin Powell

And it has.  For that, we can all be grateful.

Your Expectations

Yesterday’s post was about not taking on the expectations of others when those expectations aren’t clearly set or stated.  We shouldn’t accept the guilt or burden of meeting what we didn’t know someone else wanted from us.

Perhaps more importantly, we need to be sure that this isn’t something that we’re doing to someone else.  I think those of us who are parents are exceptionally good at this.  After all, what sort of parents would we be if we didn’t have expectations of our children?  We also do this to our spouse, our parents, family, coworkers and friends.  And we shouldn’t.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t have expectations.  I’m saying that those expectations need to be clear and stated.  If you expect your kids do something, tell them.  If it sounds ridiculous when you say it out loud, it’s probably not a fair expectation.  This also goes for anyone else that you feel may have let you down.  Did they know you expected something from them?  Do they even know that you feel like they let you down?

So go ahead and set expectations if it’s your place to do so.  If it’s not, then don’t and just let it go.

Coaching Challenge: Relax

It seems odd to put out a “challenge” to relax, but a challenge seemed more appropriate than simply asking readers to think about how they could relax.  As you’ve read here this week, relaxing is something that must be done, not simply thought about.  And so, this your challenge to relax.

Here we go….

You may be a person who relaxes often or someone who rarely does; either way, we all can relax more than we do.  These challenges go out to all.

  • Right now, what are your shoulders doing?  Are they somewhere up around your ears?  Breathe in deeply through your nose and let them drop as you exhale.  Push those guys down if you need to (I need to!).  Repeat until your shoulders are truly relaxed and where they should be.
  • Now that you’re more relaxed, check out your schedule next week and find 30 minutes when you can plan to relax.  What will you do?  Below are a few suggestions.
    • Go for a walk.  Alone.  No headphones.  Just you and your thoughts.
    • Light some candles, fill the bathtub, and soak.
    • Lie down and listen to calming music, ocean waves or loons.
    • Read.
    • If you can carve off 60 minutes, get a massage. Or a facial. Or meet a friend you haven’t seen in too long.
  • What if none of these things sounds appealing to you?  Use your 30 minutes to figure out what relaxes you.  Pay attention over the next few days and recognize when your stress level goes down.  Capture and remember those things so you can do more of them.
  • Do you have kids in your life? Find time to do something relaxing with them. Children often respond favorably to bike rides, walking the dog, or playing a card game.  You’ll be teaching them how to relax and they won’t even know it!
  • Extra credit: Make that 30-minute (or 60-minute) time slot a recurring event.

Relax. Refresh. Renew.

Relax, My Child

It’s the last day of summer vacation for Fargo kids.  Since I work from home I’ve had the pleasure of spending quite a bit of time with my teen and his friends over the summer months.  They are at that age where they’re constantly moving with high energy.  Even so, it’s rare to see them not engaged with some sort of electronic device.  And I, like many parents, try to remember to suggest a break from all things plugged in or charged from time to time.  It happens, but not often enough.

How can they ever relax?  True, my son could pop in his ear buds, close his eyes, and listen to soothing music.  Yeah, right.  OK, so maybe it is an uphill journey to get a teen to relax.  However, it’s a journey that parents should encourage children to take.

Most of us who have teens grew up during a time when we had to figure out what to do when it came to play.  There were stretches of silence and boredom and solitude.  Whether we liked it or not, this was a kind of forced relaxation.  Not so with our kids.

Fast forward and as adults we are reminded of the importance of relaxation because of the health and emotional benefit this time of renewal brings.  Think of how much harder it will be for our young adult children to relax when they’ve rarely done so throughout their lives.

In her book Simplify Your Life, Elaine St. James encourages us to “Teach Your Kids the Joy of Solitude.”

…teach them how to spend a quiet afternoon at home.  Set up a regular time in their week where they can be away from the unremitting influence of their peers, as well as away from the pandemonium of the electronic age.  Fortify them with good books (but no TV) and thoughtful meditative exercises they can do, so they get in the habit of personal reflection, and of seeing answers within their own heart.

Once your children learn the joy of solitude, it’ll be a gift they can carry with them throughout their lives.

A gift.  No, my kiddo won’t feel like it’s a gift when I suggest he does nothing for a while.  My hope is that one day when he’s an adult and needs to break free from the stress of his days, perhaps then he’ll look back and thank his mom for allowing him to be alone with his thoughts and reflections.  Until then, I’ll continue to encourage him to relax on his journey.

Coaching Challenge: Supporting Others

This week’s coaching challenge is less about you and more about those in your life who have and need your support.  Too often the support we give is haphazard and random.  Today, let’s give some thought to how we can be purposeful and deliberate in how we support others.

Here we go….

As you read through the posts this week, who came to mind?  Is there someone that you’ve been supporting in word only?  Following are a few ideas of what you can do to take your support to the next level.

  • Send a hand-written note wishing him or her success, outlining how proud you are of the efforts you see, or simply praising what you have seen him or her do.  Positive support and accolades go further than what we speak.  A note can also be returned to later if the receiver needs an extra boost of support.
  • Make an appointment with this person to learn more about how you can tangibly support their business.  If you don’t need the services offered, you likely know someone else who will.
  • Next time you are invited to join an event from someone in your network, go.
  • Extra credit: Set aside time in your calendar next week to go through your contact list.  Identify who you want to support, deliberately, and then make a plan outlining how you will do so.

We can support people in spirit and in our word.  But when we support others with our actions, it goes much further.

Being There

Our physical presence often shows support in ways that words simply cannot.  If you think back to times of stress or times when you were under pressure, you know that the person who was there meant the world to you.

I can think of times when I had big presentations to do and my manager would show up in the back of the room.  As a manager, I did the same for my team as well.  Having that presence there was more important than a simple “break a leg” would have been before I began.  Actually, any coworker or friend being there had a similar impact as well.

Parties.  Funerals.  Work occasions.  Charity events.  We’ve all had those moments when one of our supporters walked in and a sense of relief, confidence and even peace swept over us and we knew in an instant that we were no longer alone in the circumstance.

Never doubt that showing up is important.  It may seem like a small thing to you; however, it rarely is.  Schedules are crazy and time is precious so when we show up in person it speaks to how much we value and support someone.

Without ever saying a word.

Referrals And Recommendations

As a small business owner, there are few things that feel more supportive than getting a referral from someone in my network.  When a referral is given, not only is that person putting a significant level of faith and trust into my work, they are also putting their relationship with that other person on the line.  Placing it in my hands.

Referring people is part of how we support one another in business.   It’s how we develop and maintain our network.  It’s part of what keeps our economy going.  It’s so important that today I found this in my inbox from Bing:

There are many business models where referrals and recommendations are key pieces to what is offered.  There are recommendations on LinkedIn.  The ads served up on Facebook come from what your friends like, too.  Tripadvisor counts on recommendations to bring value to what you find on their site.

Who have you referred lately?  Here are a few of my own.

  • If you want an amazing cup of coffee, head over to Dunn Brothers, owned by my friend Meghann and where my kid roasts the beans.
  • For a special evening, nobody serves up ambiance and fine dining better than Sara and Eric over at Mezzaluna.
  • If you’re looking for a unique gift or piece of furniture stop by Eco Chic Boutique where Maria will take care of you and you can buy a cool piece made by Paula or Laura or one of many other local craftspeople.
  • My friend Sherry at Hair Success South is the only stylist on the planet who has been able to cover my gray.  (Shhhh…. It’s natural.  Reallly.)

I can’t create a complete list because I’ll leave someone out.  But if you need a dentist, chiropractor, massage therapist, doctor, realtor, life coach, printer, charity to support, insurance agent, organizer, speaker for your next event, interior designer, custom designed furniture, or a myriad of other services… I can help you find a connection.

And you can do the same for those close to you.

Support your friends, family and network by giving them your business and, as often as you can, get others to do the same.

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

What have you done for someone else lately?  In what way have you supported someone’s business or career?  While our individual effort propels our success, we have all had times when the added support of our friends, family and network have moved us along a little faster than had we gone it alone.

Unfortunately, I’m not sure that many of us truly understand the impact that our individual support can have.

An owner of a small business in a small town once told me how people in her town would come into her store, tell her how much they loved it and how happy they were to have her there, and then walk out empty handed.  Her store is no longer in business.

It’s this story that drives me to shop locally as much as I can.  Sure, I might pay a dollar more for something at the grocery store in the small town near my lake cabin, but I would rather spend that extra dollar than have the store disappear altogether.

I bring this up as a tangible example of what we can do to support each other.  Most of us know someone who has a small business or sells something that we need.  Coffee shop owners need you to buy from them instead of a big chain.  Artists need you to buy their art, not simply admire it.  Your friend who sells cars can get you any previously owned car you seek and probably will give you a good deal, too.  That young adult who just started a new sales career needs you to listen to what they can offer and to recommend their services to your network.  And you can just as easily find a gift in a small local boutique as you can at one of the big box stores.

True, we can support one another with our words and that can be very pleasing to hear.  However, when it comes to true support we all need to remember to put our money where our mouth is by supporting friends, family and our network with our hard-earned cash.  This is tangible, measurable support that makes a real difference to those who receive it.

Support The 3/50 Project.  Pick three local businesses and spend $50 at those locations each month.  Can’t afford that?  Pick one.  Or spend $20.  Support your network and your community.

Playful Summer

Preparation for winter begins this week as I select the first of summer’s harvest to stash away for winter.  Summer just began a few days ago and as I blanch spinach to freeze, I am reminded again how fleeting these few precious months of warmth and sunshine are.  Almost in a panic, I realize that I need to get out and play.

Yes, play.

As adults we enjoy recreation.  We socialize.  We relax.  We exercise.  But how often do you get out and really play?  Do you remember the last time you let your playful nature take over?  Maybe you were tubing on the lake with your kids.  Or you created some silly game, spontaneously.  Or perhaps it was when you got the giggles with your close friends.

You know the difference when you begin to play.  Lightheartedness takes over.  Appearing a little ridiculous matters less.  Cares drop away.

It’s been a while since I was playful.  This week, I’m looking for the opportunity.

Take A Vacation!

It’s June!  It’s summer!  Where are you going on your summer vacation?  What?  No plans yet?  Yes… you can take a vacation.

You know that vacations improve your health, create stronger connections with your travel partners, and expand your view of the world.  There are those of you who know this and travel; there are those of you who know this and think you can’t.

As I’ve said here before, there’s little else that makes me crazier than hearing “I can’t.”  Here’s a few ways to help you consider how you can.

  • Vacation where you are.  Sure, the “stay-cation” is the latest trend… but there is something to it.  Almost everyone neglects some interesting things in their own city or town that tourists check out when they visit.  Within 100 miles of your home there are bound to be museums, historical sites, hiking or biking trails,  or unique eateries that you haven’t yet explored.  Take a day or a long weekend and check them out.
  • Plan.  When my sister-in-law decided to put away $50 from each paycheck, she had enough money to go to an all-inclusive resort in the tropics within 12-24 months.  Each of her family members did this and they were all able to go together.  Even small amounts add up over time.  Give up your daily coffee or eating out once a week and put it in a travel account.
  • Be prepared.  My husband traveled to Europe for the first time FREE because he had his passport ready to go.  Another friend traveled to China at a reduced cost because a friend asked her to join her on business travel.  If you don’t have a passport, you’ll never get out of the country.  If you do, you might.
  • Make vacationing a priority.  I mentioned this week that my parents were fans of extensive road trips (from Fargo, ND we DROVE to South Padre Island, TX and to Banff in Alberta, Canada – and we’ve done this with our kids as well).  Growing up on a farm, the only way my parents could escape work was to physically leave.  So we did, whether we had money or not.  Years without money included very rustic camping and some hotels we’d rather forget.  But we also created memories that last a lifetime.

Regardless of how you choose to travel, I encourage you to figure out a way to take a real break from the day-to-day.  Because yes, you can take a vacation.

Strengths In Our Children

Fostering strengths in our children can be one of the most important, most difficult endeavors those of us who are parents can do.  Marcus Buckingham tells a story about his reaction to finding out that his son wasn’t a master at drawing and how he – even as someone who has devoted his life to encouraging strengths – was immediately compelled to find a way to help his son improve his weakness in this area.  As parents, we see room for improvement and sometimes get a little crazy with all we can do to “help” – tutors, lessons, camps, drills, and so on.

Newsflash: our children cannot be the best at everything.

We know this, right?  Yet we want to see them produce straight As, become a sports captain, play the cello, and show perfect manners, too.

If you have more than one child, you probably have noticed that they are pretty different from one another.  In our family, this couldn’t be truer.  I’ll spare them the embarrassment of their mother publicly listing their strengths and weaknesses, but will tell you that one of them has bit of an entrepreneurial spirit.  It’s because of this that the video below really struck a chord with me – and with him as we watched it together.

In the beginning of Cameron Herold’s TEDx talk, he describes how he won a speech contest in 2nd grade and wasn’t given any support to reinforce that strength – though he did go on to become a highly rated lecturer at MIT.  Conversely, when he “sucked at” French, he was given a tutor.  And now, as an entrepreneur, he hires out what he isn’t good at so he can focus on what his strengths are.

Maybe your child won’t be an entrepreneur, or a lawyer for that matter.  Whatever they become, it will be as a result of what was encouraged, nurtured and allowed to grow.  It will also be the result of what was discouraged and squashed.  We, along with other significant adults in their lives, are the people who will do that for them, to them.  In any event, our children will be better served if we find ways to help them discover their own strengths so that they can feel strong in what they choose for a career path.

Even if it means that they won’t go to college, or take over the family business, or be whatever it is that you do as a profession.  It’s got to be their dream, not yours.

I hope you enjoy the video.

Defining Balance

“Balance” is a myth.  You know that, right?  What we must strive for is fulfillment, our balance coming from each area of our lives being properly filled, not precariously balanced.  More on fulfillment tomorrow.  Until then, here’s what balance looked like for me last year.  It looks very different for me now.  I had it then and I have it now because I continue to define it for myself.  As should you.

My Balanced Life originally posted January 24, 2011

I have a balanced life.

Most evenings I leave work somewhere around 5:00 PM. I see my kids, parents, and extended family. I even cook for my family quite a bit. Once or twice a week, my husband and I walk the dogs (when it’s above freezing, anyway). I spend time with my friends. Lately I’ve been making time to exercise. I regularly update my Facebook status.

On the flip side, I’m going to grad school. I lead three or four global projects in one of the largest, well-known companies in the world. I missed Platinum status with Delta by about 1500 miles last year. I eat my lunch at my desk (or by my computer if I’m working from home) more days than not. I coach a handful of people each week.

And yes, I have a balanced life.

Balance is a funny thing. What might look nuts to you is balanced to me. Why? Because my balance is all mine. And your balance is all yours. That’s the beauty and the trouble with it. The beauty is that it is yours to find and have. The trouble is that it’s all up to you.

Sorry.

Not your boss. Not your spouse. Not your mother-in-law who won’t drop everything to stay with your sick kid. You.

I know the moment when I claimed my balance. When I declared that my life was mine and I was taking it back. Claiming and doing are not the same, mind you. It took more than that singular moment to find my balance and it would be a lie if I said it wasn’t work to maintain it. 10 years later, it can still be a daily decision to keep everything in line.

So what does balance look like for you? And what is that first step you can take? For me, it was leaving my laptop at the office when work really could wait until the next day. When I got pretty good at that, I added another step… It’s OK to have dinner at 7:00; I give the kids a snack while they watch me make supper and we eat later. And then another… I will not forgo girlfriend time, ever. And then another…

Claim your balance. It’s up to you.

Thanks for reading! Now head on over to Facebook and join me there!

Coaching: Tough Conversations

Fear sometimes holds us back from telling people around us the truth.  When we do this, we rob our family, friends and coworkers of the opportunity to grow and change.  If we can see what they cannot, it’s a gift to give them the information we have.

Thinking about that conversation you’ve been putting off, let’s dig deeper and figure out what it will take to make it happen.

Here we go….

As you read through this week’s posts, who came to mind?  Who were you thinking might be too fragile to hear what you have to say about them?  Who would improve and make their lives better if they only knew what you knew?  What specifically would you like to tell them?

How could you deliver this information in a loving and supportive way?

Perhaps you’re thinking too much time has passed?  How sure are you on this?  Maybe it’s a better-late-than-never scenario.  If so, how could you make the message seem timely?  Has the offence been repeated?  Did someone else recently bring it to your attention again?

Honestly, most critical feedback I’ve received has resulted in change that mattered.  I appreciate each person who had the courage to have those hard conversations with me. My thanks goes out to them.

Now, go do the same for that person who needs your feedback.

Time Constraints

Where does the time go?  We make time, give time and waste time.  We manage time, have time taken from us, and run out of time.  Most of us feel like there isn’t enough time and that it goes too fast.

How can we cope with this rigid constraint of only 24 hours each day?  Some days it seems impossible, doesn’t it?  Even if we were magically granted six more hours in each day, deep down we know that wouldn’t be enough.  Family, work and all that is both good and bad in our lives would simply expand to fill it and after a few weeks we’d feel the same as we do now.  I’m guessing…

There’s this quote by H. Jackson Brown, Jr. that is meant to be inspiring:

Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.

It just makes me feel guilty.

Of course, if you look at that list, most didn’t have children (a coincidence?), had people around them to assist with their cause, and each of them was able to completely devote their lives to their passion.  While they all are famous in their fields, there are other measures of success where they may have not done as well – finances or personal relationships, perhaps.

Given how far I am into this life, the chance of having the success of these storied individuals is small.   Really, I’m looking to reach a lower bar: I simply want to raise a couple of remarkable men, create a successful business, and have strong and wonderful relationships along the way.  If I can do those three things, I’ll feel as successful as anyone.

I just need to find the time to pull it off.

Connecting With Your Network

In the words of author John C. Maxwell, connecting always requires energy.  It takes some work and commands something of us.  We need to consciously connect or we likely won’t.  We’ll be in the room, in the conversation, but not really there.  We must be present to connect.

How to do that?  Active listening plays a big part.  Pulling from Maxwell’s book Everyone Communicates Few Connect, here are a few more reminders:

  • Connecting begins when the other person feels valued.
  • Connect visually by giving the other person your complete attention.
  • Have interest in the other person.
  • Express gratitude to and for that person.
  • Put his or her interests ahead of your own.
  • Show your values by words and action – this helps people to want to connect with you.  So does a caring spirit.

Maxwell also notes that more than 90 percent of all connecting occurs one-on-one.  He continues:

That’s usually how you communicate with the people who know you best: family, friends, and work associates.  You are also least likely to be on your guard with these people and most likely to make commitments to them.  As a result, they are the people who know your character best.

These are the people with whom you are most comfortably and easily connected to.  Let your guard down with more people and that circle will grow.

You can find all books mentioned in this blog online at the Coach Carolyn Store.

How’s Your Mood?

This originally posted in August as How’s Your Attitude; I revised it slightly after comments from a reader.  I like it better now….

How’s your mood today? Mine’s better than it was last week… now that I’m paying attention to it! Funny, I also feel better too. Better physically. Better emotionally. Better about my business. Better about my relationships. All because I’m choosing to have a better attitude.

Kind of crazy, isn’t it?

We can spend a lot of time thinking that our moods are due to what’s happening to us.  However, more science supports that our moods about how we are responding to what’s happening to us. Our choice. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find that a little irritating. I don’t always want to have control of my mood – I want to blame someone or something else. Of course, that’s usually when I’ve already taken on a bad attitude.

Our attitude not only affects the relationships around us (anyone called you “grumpy pants,” “sour puss,” or something less flattering lately?), it can impact physical ailments like back pain, heart health or depression. Just do a quick search on WebMD and you’ll find all sorts of support for why we should choose to be cheery.

So what to do when we’d rather wallow in our bad attitude instead of giving it up? I’m sure you won’t be surprised… Turns out many of the things that affect our attitude are the very same happiness boosters already discussed here over the last few months.

Take a walk. Laugh. Call a friend. Pet your cat. Call an end to your pity party.

You know you’ll feel better. And your heart, back and mind will thank you for it. Not to mention the people around you as well.

That Which Cannot Be Measured…

That which cannot be measured cannot be achieved.  ~Locke & Latham

It makes sense, doesn’t it?  If no measurement is set, how will one know when a goal has been met?

Do you want to be healthier?  How will you know when you’ve achieved that?

Perhaps you plan to spend more time with your kids?  How much time?  A few minutes a week?  An hour a day?

Have you made a resolution to exercise more?  How much more?  If you walk for 10 minutes a week have you done what you hoped to accomplish?

Or maybe you want to improve your performance at work.  What part of your performance?  If you get to the office on time does it count?  Or do you need to get your MBA?  Or increase your sales by 8%?

There’s a little wiggle-room in this measurement “rule,” as our long-term goals can be less specific – think of those in terms of vision and dreams.  But when it comes to those things we hope to achieve in the near-term, unless the goal is measureable there’s really little point in setting it at all.

So, how will you measure your success?  When will you know you’ve achieved your goal?  Be specific.  Measure it.