On your deathbed…

A couple of weeks ago, I was at a gathering at a beautiful old house in New Hampshire where the family gets together each July 4th weekend. One of the senior members of “the clan,” Dale, passed away this year and his grown children held a wonderful remembrance for him.

When you’re trying to prioritize what’s important in your life, it’s helpful to write your obituary. Your obit marks your final deadline. How do you want to be remembered?

What this weekend celebration reminded me of is that it is also helpful to think about a final ceremony. I know you’re not ready to pass, but when you are, what do you want the ceremony to be like? Continue reading

Ideas for a 30-day challenge

I’m teaching a class this winter and have been toying with the idea of making it a 30-day challenge. When I found this graphic on the web last week, I thought, “This is it! I’ll do a 30-day declutter challenge.”

I gave this a little more thought and decided no one could declutter for 30 days straight without losing their mind. I mean, I like decluttering and this chart looks daunting.

That got me thinking about other 30-day challenges. Continue reading

Practicing loving kindness

I met Broadway actor and writer John Cariani a few weeks ago at a writing workshop. I sat in the front row and was so delighted to be there, John asked if he knew me. I assured him he did not. I knew him from seeing him on Broadway but I was pretty sure he had not noticed me in an audience of about a thousand people.

Partway through the class, John asked me again, confused. “Do we know one another?”

I smiled. “Nope!” Continue reading

When you’re having a bad day…

I’m just finishing an audio version of Sharon Salzberg’s book Real Happiness at Work. Sharon’s focus, as always, is on practicing loving kindness.

Here are three tips  from Sharon if you’re having a bad day: Continue reading

A community takes action

This incredible story ran in yesterday’s Washington Post.

What was incredible to me was that help was on the way. Police were on the scene. But someone – one person in a large crowd of beach-goers – decided to take action. And that one person and their one decision helped save at least one if not all ten of the people, including two children, who were stuck in a horrendous riptide.

There are a number of studies that show most humans will not help if they think someone else is going to step up to the plate. Those studies say if you want help and a crowd is nearby, you need to point your finger at one specific person and ask, “Will you help me?” Continue reading

Connecting from the heart

Last weekend, I attended my daughter’s “White Coat” ceremony at Duke University. This signifies the end of Sam’s formal schooling to complete her doctorate in Physical Therapy. Now she has a year of travel to learn hands-on skills from experts in her field.

At the graduation ceremony, small teams presented posters on their specific area of study. Being a bit of a science geek, I went over early to read as many of the studies as I could. They were all cool (i.e. you are just as likely to wipe yourself out with CrossFit as you are with any other high-intensity workout), but the one I liked most was “The Role of TA (Therapeutic Alliance) in Managing Chronic Pain.”

I know that sounds like, “What?” but picture this. Continue reading

How can you help?

When I talk to people about organizational issues, many ask me what they can do to help friends, family, or co-workers who are disorganized. My suggestion is that they get their own lives organized, lead by example, and not worry about others. When you’re organized and you’re getting things done, your energy is infectious which is a great way to raise the energy of others around you.

That being said, it’s also vitally important that you be helpful. That you mentor and coach when you’re asked. And that you reach out and lend a hand even when you’re not asked. Continue reading