The Book of Coincidences

A few years ago, I was driving home from a business trip and asked my travel guides for a place to pull off the road to get water, a cup of tea, and a clean bathroom. I expected to see Mecca at each bend in the road but nothing appeared. As I started to doubt my guides – and my sanity at asking travel guides for help – I happened on Chester, Vermont. With just a slight turn off the road, I was in an awesome little town with a general store that had fresh baked goods, water, tea, and a nice bathroom. It was all I’d asked for and more.

There were a couple of shops along Main Street so after I finished my tea, I took a stroll. I pushed open the heavy door of a small independent bookstore and a jingle above the door greeted me. Inside, I breathed the air of a real bookstore with wide-plank flooring and rows and rows of interesting books. Continue reading

Ask your guides

Sharing ideas on “best practices” is a great way to learn from someone who’s doing work that’s similar to what you’re doing. When you learn something new, you feel a jolt of positive energy. And when you share best practices in return, it can make someone’s day. You win. They win. And we all get better work done.

A couple of years ago, I was getting back into consulting work and decided to go on a road trip to hear what friends in the direct marketing industry were doing for best practices. I planned a week-long trip through western Massachusetts with a zig to upstate New York, then down through the mountains of New Hampshire with a few final stops in Vermont.

I headed out and all was well until day #4 when I realized I was on the last disk of a Dennis Lehane novel – and that was it for audio books. Anytime I’m in the car I listen to audio books. I get them from the library and listen to them to learn new stuff as well as to be entertained as I drive. I’m pretty much never without an audio book in the car. But as I pulled into the parking lot at Kripalu in western Mass, I broke into a cold sweat. My next stop was Burlington, Vt. There’d be plenty of bookstores in Burlington, but that was four hours away. Continue reading

Finding energy balance

I just finished reading one of Cesar Millan’s books on understanding dogs and was struck by this idea: When you’re choosing a dog, you’ll be happier in the long run not by picking a certain breed, but by picking a dog that matches your energy. I was helping place puppies last weekend at the Animal Refuge league and offered this advice to a number of folks looking at puppies – some of whom were mellow and others rowdy – and it seemed to help our visitors choose a puppy that was a good “fit”.

space-energyAfterward, I got to thinking about how this same energy assessment applies to work. If you’re at a company where everyone works 60-70 hours a week and you like spending less time at work and more at home, good luck feeling in balance. Conversely, if you have a job that requires you to sit all day and you’re high energy, you either sit and aren’t happy. Or you’re up and around all the time making it hard for others to work! I felt this when I worked for a big company that was all about the status quo when I wanted to try new things, to create change. It was a bad match! Continue reading

Getting in the question-habit

I recently read a great study by psychologist Arthur Aron positing whether two strangers could fall in love simply by asking each other a series of 36 questions. The first 13 questions are about how we present ourselves. The next 13 are about what we dream of and what we value. The last 13 are about friendship, family, and partners.

two-heartsAnd here’s the clincher. At the end of the 36 questions, the two strangers have to face each other and look into each other’s eyes for 4 minutes. Aron says 2 minutes doesn’t do it – that’s simply terrifying. It’s at 4 minutes that things start to happen. Continue reading

Tips for efficient travel

travel stepsTraveling is a great challenge for your soul. When you experience new places and meet new people – especially if there is a language challenge – your brain gets excited. You remember details of each day of a trip. How often does that happen when you’re going through your regular daily routine?

To keep the challenge positive, it helps to be organized. Here are a few tips to help smooth out the trip. Continue reading