Positive Navigation Through Any Storm

I used to think I had a problem with bridges. Then I learned that we can talk ourselves into panic when we’re safe and into calm when we’re in real danger. I live in Pennsylvania, close to Delaware, where I can easily enjoy proximity to tax-free shopping, Philadelphia, and my beloved Jersey shore. I love my view of the bridge to New Jersey from my neighborhood and the opportunities to proclaim, “I can see New Jersey from my windshield,” throughout my area. So it’s ironic that I made crossing the bridge to New Jersey a source of so much anxiety for so long. Anxiety Amid Calm I have no clue what prompted it, but after several years of driving to the shore every weekend for work, I started to become anxious as I crossed the bridge, but only on the way home. I was never truly unsafe on the bridge, but the. . . .

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It’s Been Quite a Summer

I suspect that, as a kid, I was a little excited about Labor Day, the start of the school year and time to reconnect with friends I hadn’t seen all summer. When I was a corporate drone in workplaces so intense I noticed little of the world outside of the office, I barely had the energy to notice, let alone celebrate, Labor Day As a teacher with the luxury of spending the whole summer at my beloved Jersey shore, Labor Day weekend was not a happy time. I cried so hard – sobbing, ugly cry – during the entire 75-mile drive home one year, I’m still not sure how I made it safely across the Delaware River. Labor Day was different this year. In the words of the prophet story teller Jimmy Buffett, “it’s been quite a summer.” After spending the last three months caring for my mom through her final. . . .

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You Know More Than You Think

I don’t know what I want. The more I work with people who say they don’t know their heart’s desires, the more clear it becomes that they know more than they admit. Wait, so you’re calling your clients liars? Absolutely not. The problem isn’t that they don’t know what they want. It’s that they either think they don’t know what they want or that they think they don’t deserve it. They’ve either forgotten how to use their internal GPS system or they think they’re not even allowed to want what their heart’s desires let alone fulfill them. Or both. Rusty navigational equipment plus limiting thinking equals stuck. So how do you get clear about what you want and start getting more of it in your life? Trust. Trust Your Knowing There was a time when you knew. There was a time when you did things you were naturally drawn to,. . . .

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Stop Trying to Find Your Purpose and Start Doing Your Purpose Instead

What I really want is to find my purpose. That sentence, uttered by a potential client, used to be my personal kryptonite. I could help them for sure, in spite of a story in my head telling me I wasn’t very good at it. Working with – and helping – enough purpose seekers finally helped me to see that story for the lie that it was. Mr. Rogers helped, too. Missing the Trolley I never watched Mister Rogers Neighborhood as a kid. I don’t have kids, and the middle schoolers I taught were too cool to admit that they watched when they were little. Fred Rogers spoke at commencement at my alma mater – the year before I graduated – so I missed him there, too. But I know enough about him to predict this with confidence: Fred Rogers didn’t find his purpose by sitting around and thinking about it.. . . .

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Remains of the List

My mailing list, that oft-considered holy grail of people who do at least part of their business online – so, basically, just about every business – on this first day in the GDPR universe, has a whopping 25 subscribers. One of which is me, thanks to mild OCD that makes me distrust that the emails really went through unless I see one as a subscriber. So, 24. There’s a time when that would have given me apoplexy. Or at least led to an online rant accompanied by a not small degree of stress eating. There was a small rant, in fact, a few days ago, when I sat down to sort through the labyrinth of legalese and advice that would – hopefully – make the online part of my business satisfactory to the European Union by clearly declaring what I’ve done since the beginning: treat the information of my website. . . .

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There’s Always Another Way

If you’re feeling stuck and out of options, I believe there’s always another way. Always. Pretty bold, huh? No, I don’t have the peer reviewed academic studies to support my claim, but in my experience, there’s always another way – usually several – a lot more often than we think. And the likelihood of missing those other ways goes up exponentially when we try to figure out everything by ourselves, take only the same point of view, and try to get un-stuck with the same tools that got us stuck in the first place. So, yeah, I’m sticking with there’s always another way. Support, Viewpoint, Tools You can find those other ways more easily and more consistently when you get support, shift your view, and use new tools to get where you want to go. Here’s an example of wayfinding another way from my seasonal, part time side hustle. As kids. . . .

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Lasting Change Takes Practice

Big breakthroughs are exciting and feel fantastic, but making them stick takes turning turning an aha into a habit because lasting change takes practice. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about decluttering a drawer in my bedroom and rediscovering these old aromatherapy beads and how, after using them one time, I woke up the next morning able to breathe through both nostrils for the first time in, well, ever. It dawned on me this weekend that I haven’t taken a decongestant in days, something that was as routine as brushing my teeth three short weeks ago. My sinuses aren’t totally clear 24/7, but they’re consistently clearer than, well, ever. I didn’t get this seemingly miraculous result from using the beads once. I’ve used them every single day since I freed them from that drawer. Multiple times most days. I got positive, short-term results that first night because they work for. . . .

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Better It Better with Signature Strengths

One of the most reliable ways I know to boost your ability to be well, do good and enjoy the ride is to amp up a coaching tool called “bag it, barter it, or better it” by mixing it with your VIA signature strengths. When you’re facing a task or situation that drains your energy, you can choose to: bag it by not doing it or entering the situation, barter it by trading tasks or activities with someone who actually gets energized by the stuff that sucks the life out of you, or better it by doing something to make the task or situation feel better. Adding your VIA signature strengths with intention and creativity is like adding renewable super fuel to the “better it” approach. I’ve waxed poetic about the Values in Action Survey of Character Strengths here and here and here. Short version: The VIA is a tool that. . . .

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compass and map

A Compass and Map to Navigate Your Next

When you navigate your next, you need a compass and a map. If you were going to hike a new trail, would you bring a compass or a map? You can only choose one and there’s no cell service, but the distance and terrain are within your strength and skill levels. If you can follow the sun or stars, skip the compass. If it’s an out and back hike and you’re good at noticing landmarks, skip the map. You can navigate the physical world with either a compass or a map, or neither. To navigate new chapters in our lives, it takes both. Wrong Map What’s your five-year plan? Inside my head: that’s way too long, life’s too uncertain and changes too fast, that’s not what you want to hear, I need this job, I have to say something that will make hire me, QUICK! Before I could form the words,. . . .

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Declutter Your Thinking

Decluttering can help you do more than get rid of stuff. Done right, it can help you rediscover the internal qualities to help you thrive, as long as you use your rediscovered brilliance instead of letting it sit on a shelf. When I woke up this morning, I realized I was breathing easily and silently for the first time in, oh, I don’t know, months, years, the lifetime since an otolaryngologist described my septum as “the most deviated I’ve seen in my 40-year career.” I savored the scent of eucalyptus, peppermint and lemongrass – through both nostrils – recalling how I rediscovered the aromatherapy beads during a recent decluttering spree. A couple of weeks ago. In a bottle from a store that closed shortly after superstorm Sandy. In 2012. I finally took it from the shelf and set some next to my pillow. Yesterday. My chronic sinus issues were largely resolved. Overnight. If. . . .

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