Before and after

You have points in your life where everything was going in one direction, then “this” happened, and your life headed off in a new direction. You know what I’m talking about? Those big “before” and “after” moments.

For me, this would include the day in 8th grade I decided to try out for cheerleading which changed who I hung out with in high school, what I did with my free time, and how active I became in my class.

Another big turning point was my decision to go to the University of Virginia. This meant I met certain wonderful, life-long friends, chose a certain major, and hated being at the University so much I chose to go hiking for 3 months with an Outward Bound program. This, in turn, was another HUGE turning point because that’s where I met the person I married and had children with. Continue reading

Things I’ve learned so far

I’m in a brainstormy mood tonight and decided to jot down things I’ve learned so far… Twenty was easy so I went to 30. Then I got to 33 which seemed like an odd number so I went to 35. The list was getting a little long but 35 seemed like a weird place to stop, so I rounded up to 40.

Thanks to all of my guides who are behind this list. Here we go. Continue reading

Wishing v. Working

When people tell you to “follow your passion,” it sounds so easy. “Just follow your passion and everything will turn out great.” Make a wish and it will come true. Right?

What you don’t hear is that it takes work to make your wishes come true.

I don’t want to downplay wishing. Dreaming big schemes is the first step to creating a new reality. But once you come up with a terrific vision, how do you get from “energy bubble” to “done?” Continue reading

How to improve your concentration

Being focused on what you’re doing helps you do good work. And it’s fun to sink deep into a project.

If you’re feeling a little scattered, here are 5 Buddhist tips for meditation that also help with concentration.

Pay attention to where you’re working
If you’re trying to do serious work in a noisy, active place – good luck! When you need to focus, give yourself the best shot possible by finding or creating a calm, quiet place with few distractions. You may think you can concentrate amidst chaos, but give quiet a chance and see how much it improves both the amount and quality of your output. Continue reading

Taking the first small step

I had a big, cool idea in the 1990s. I wanted to write a novel. I decided this at a crazy-bad time. I had two little kids at home and a demanding job. But I thought about writing all the time. I had to figure out a way to write a novel.

My first baby step was to make a list of novels I loved and characters I wanted to meet in real life. I gave myself a week to brainstorm all of my favorite books and characters.

Then I took another week to think about common threads. What appealed to me most in my favorite novels? And what types of characters was I most drawn to? Continue reading

Making a Big Decision

When you’re faced with a challenge, you feel it first in your gut. Something is up. You think and think about it, but how do you decide when so many factors seem to weigh in equally? Back to your gut. This isn’t an intellectual problem – big decisions come from your gut. You want to be decisive. Why is making a choice so hard?

  • You don’t want to make a mistake.
  • You don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings.
  • You don’t want to flip-flop on something you decided before.
  • You may not want to stick out in the crowd – or within your friends and family groups.
  • Habits are hard to break; it’s hard to start a new routine.

So look for common threads. Continue reading

5 steps out of a rut

Feeling in a low energy rut? Here are a few ideas to spur your juices and lift your energy.

Think Creatively
Instead of saying I’m not creative, how about saying “I can be creative.” Even if you don’t feel artistic, you can always come up with a creative solution. It might be a puzzle you solve, a class you take, or a unique solution you find to a problem. If you need a push, take a trip or meet a new person. Or look at an issue you deal with every day and come up with a creative way to make your world a little better. What’s one baby step you can take? Continue reading