5 tips to be a successful leader

When I was working my way up through the business world, I had very few bosses I emulated. It appeared to me that to “make it” to the top, you had to work 100 hours a week and expect your employees to do the same. You had to be somewhat cut-throat and keenly competitive with others at your level within the organization. And it didn’t appear that empathy had anything to do with business.

I know a lot of that still goes on but was encouraged to read an article today in The Washington Post by Aaron Gregg and Thomas Heath about three executives from the DC area who were rated “the highest” by their employees. These are bosses you can look up for who they are – as well as for what they accomplish.

What’s cool is that these principles apply whether you’re running a small, medium, or large company. And they apply if you aren’t running a company at all! They’re simply great life ideas. Continue reading

Finding joy in caregiving

One of the cool things about bringing programs to our library is that I get to choose the topics and speakers, and I get to attend! I have learned so much over the last two years about squirrels, birds, writing, songwriting, democracy, art, travel, and much more.

Last week I had a new author in, John Eric Baugher, to talk about his book Contemplative Caregiving: Finding Healing, Compassion, and Spiritual Growth Through End-of-Life Care. Here are seven things I learned from John’s 25+ years of working in hospice that every end-of-life caregiver should know.

And honestly, I’m posting these today because they’re great advice for all of us no matter what we’re tasked with. Continue reading

What do you do?

For those of us who have a number of jobs, it’s tricky answering the simple question, “What do you do?” People like clarity and telling someone “what you do” helps them understand who you are and how you fit within the community. If you hesitate answering, you see them smile and take a step away. People who can’t say what they do are suspicious!

But what if you’re retired? Then you end up explaining “what you used to do.”

What if you don’t have a job? How do you define yourself then?

And what if you do volunteer work. Is that “what you do?”

And how about when the job you have doesn’t define you in any way? “Well, this is what I do but I don’t really like it.” Continue reading

Pay attention to coincidences!

Life is full of chance encounters that aren’t as random as they seem. The person you sit next to on a plane that gives you an idea for a new project. A conversation you have that months later leads you down a new path. The choice you made buying a house or choosing a school that led to all sorts of new relationships. A book you pulled from a shelf that gave you new insight on how the world works.

My latest awesome coincidence came out of the writers’ group at the library. One of our attendees mentioned, in passing, that she had a friend who wanted her to read The Artist’s Way. That led to our Artist’s Way group which has set me off in all sorts of new directions with writing as well as with beads. And all it took was listening as Tyche mentioned a book and a desire. And then listening to my gut to take action.

When I started this blog, I wrote about my Book of Coincidences. Here’s how that started… Continue reading

Getting out of the nest

I stumbled on this quote from Pema Chodron in a book I was reading this week:

“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest.”

Isn’t that counter-intuitive? When you’re organized and doing good work, doesn’t that mean you keep control of your time and your days? And when you’re truly engaged with your work, isn’t that when you feel fully alive and awake? And when you’re “continually thrown out of the nest,” doesn’t that feel crazy and chaotic? Continue reading

Walking the Artist’s Path

I met last night with a group of 11 women to start working our way through the book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. I read this book about 20 years ago with a couple of friends. Reading it got me back into the theater – first teaching it to kids. That lead to getting back on stage. Then I started writing for the theater, and now I’m writing, directing, and running a theater group. All good. All high energy!

What I like about The Artist’s Way is that it assumes that creativity is part of everyone’s nature but that it can get lost in the day-to-day shuffle of life. The book has fun, simple exercises that help you remember who you are and get you back to practicing “the art of creative living.” Continue reading

Free Meditation Challenge with Zen Master Sharon Salzberg

Sharon Salzberg offers a 28-day meditation challenge each February. If you’ve been thinking about starting a meditation practice, Sharon’s prompts cover a lot of territory which is a great way to find something that works for you. Recent studies show short-term and long-term benefits from meditating even for short periods of time each day. Meditation helps you be calm. It helps you focus. It helps you detach from the day-to-day crazies. And it helps your body heal itself. What’s not to love!?

And when you do something for 28 days, guess what? You’ve formed a new, healthy habit. Yay!

I met Sharon over a decade ago at a weekend retreat in NYC. The irony of having a meditative retreat in the heart of NYC is not lost on me. :). When I signed up for Sharon’s meditation challenge this year, I remembered why I like her so much. I’ve told you this story before, but here it is again.  Continue reading