Lessons of a Long-Eared Life Coach

To celebrate the first anniversary of sharing my home – and a big piece of my heart – with Elphaba, the abandoned rabbit who all but knocked on my front door demanding baby carrots, here are a few of the lessons I continue to learn from my long-eared life coach. Choose Your Tribe Well According to the one-woman, self-appointed neighborhood watch, Elphaba hung out in our courtyard for almost a month before I saw her. Two little girls played with her near a clump of bushes behind my building. She left tracks in the snow the length of sidewalk from the parking lot to the playground during the one snowstorm last winter. She hung around neighborhood-watch-woman’s front door so frequently, her grandson is still mad at me for “taking away my rabbit.” But when it got really cold, and presumably, she got really hungry, she moved her home base to. . . .

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Ask the Hard Questions

Yes! That is sooooooo me! I felt the shift in her energy before I heard the next sentence. I could practically see her pursing her lips and rolling her eyes, even though we were on the phone. But I don’t see how that’s going to help my career. I mean, I love that it’s my first Signature Strength and all, but how am I supposed to, you know, use it in my job? Mini happy dance at my desk. I get crazy excited when clients ask questions like that. It wasn’t always that way. When I first started teaching, it annoyed me no end when kids questioned what I told them. I was the grown up, the wise teacher for heavens’ sake, with my newly minted graduate degree from a Really Great Program and all those years of experience. Who were they, with their wild little 11-year-old minds, to question. . . .

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The Franklin Effect: Ask for Help, Build a Relationship

He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another than he whom you yourself have obliged. The story behind that line from his autobiography rekindled my lifelong fascination with Benjamin Franklin. Like so many who grew up in the Philadelphia area, the big field trip during elementary school was to The Franklin Institute, a museum named to honor Franklin’s love of science. I don’t remember much about the science part, except for walking through the giant heart and getting to tour the cabin of a real jet plane that was permanently parked outside of the museum. (Yes, I’m that old.) I do remember, vividly, the sense of awe I felt when I first saw the enormous marble statue of Ben Franklin in the museum lobby. That sense of awe paled in comparison to what I felt when I learned of Franklin’s nearly countless. . . .

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How to Turn a Three-Day Hiatus into a Four-Day Win

I unrolled my yoga mat today. Carefully placed it on the living room floor. Stood in the middle. Stretched my arms over my head a few times. Mostly just stood still with my hands at my sides. All while breathing. A lot. I concluded this intense practice by stretching out on my back. I called it savasana, but instead of meditating, I spent it obsessing over the strands of dust dancing from the blades of the ceiling fan. After I put my mat away, I rewarded myself with fifteen minutes of knitting while bunny-sitting the office rabbit, stalking watching her to ensure she kept a healthy distance between her tiny teeth and the electrical cords. I will do the same tomorrow. The yoga for slackers practice. The knitting while bunny-watching. And the next day. And the day after that. That fourth day? That’s when I’m going to treat myself to. . . .

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star blossom

From 24-Carats to Five Stars: Your VIA Signature Strengths

How are you using those VIA Character Strengths you uncovered after you read last week’s post? Let me guess: you glanced at it, thought it was kind of interesting, and then filed it in the “I really should get back to this someday” part of your brain? I so get that. If there were a Ph.D. in File It and Forget It, my having a doctorate would be a done deal. Quick review: the VIA Survey of Character Strengths (http://www NULL.authentichappiness NULL.sas NULL.upenn NULL.edu/Default NULL.aspx) is an evidence-based tool that, when you take it and apply the results in your daily life, can help you create the kind of sustainable well-being that will help you build resilience, the ability to bend without breaking in the face of the inevitable small and not-so-small stresses of life, and to flourish, to continue to grow and develop throughout your years. It’s based on. . . .

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