Archives for the month of: September, 2011

I recently attended the screening of a very cool documentary called Connected.  An ambitious undertaking, filmmaker Tiffany Shlain has presented some interesting ideas and factoids in a unique visual way about the history of who we are and the connections we have to each other from the past, present and where we might be headed in the future.

One of the best tidbits I learned was that if you hug someone for six seconds or more, a dose of the feel-good hormone oxytocin is released.

Many of you who have worked with me individually, in a group or have talked to me after one of my workshops or seminars know that I’m a big hugger.  In addition to hugging my clients and audience members, I tend to hug strangers after a meaningful conversation, and even in more professional situations, say after a meeting, which may or may not be kosher, but I can’t help it; I often randomly hug friends, family members and co-workers because I somehow sense they need one, and I will occasionally request one myself (especially from a super-good hugger, like my bro!)

Why? I actually never thought about it.  It’s just always been a natural extension of who I am, the work I do and my love of people in general.  If I had to intellectualize it, perhaps it’s about sealing an interaction in a “Yes, I see and hear you, you see and hear me, and we can show mutual love, respect and care for each other as human beings in the most tangible way.”

And let’s face it, who couldn’t use a hug now and then?  We should be able to give and receive hugs freely, but for those of you who need to justify your request, there’s a scientific explanation, because hey, who wouldn’t want to get a little shot of some naturally feel-good feelings?!  So forget about the economy and the internet, because the true currency of connection is the HUG, and the good news is that it’s available worldwide and abundant in infinite amounts.

Feeling a little stressed or simply need a boost to brighten your day?  Instead of reaching for that Twix bar or beer, have no fear, don’t you pout just say hello and hug it out!   

The time of year is once again upon us when leaders from all sectors and nations around the globe descend upon New York City. Along with street closings and traffic jams, they come together to make important speeches, hold panel discussions and attend fancy galas.

Between the UN General Assembly, the Clinton Global Initiative,two major women’s conferences and other events, all of these big wigs and accomplished folks will be setting out to solve the world’s problems with a whirlwind of high level networking and pow-wows throughout the week.  Boy, do they have their hands full!

This month Vanity Fair features its list of the 2011 New Establishment, as well as the old and some hall of famers to boot, many of who will surely be in town. Most of them are from technology and media, which shows you where all the power currently lies, not to mention the vast majority are men – but these are topics for another post….

So how did these people in government, corporations, NGOs, technology, media, and more become the leaders they are today?  My guess is that they took hold of their passion and calling in life and harnessed it in a way that took them wherever it needed to go.

Not all the journeys were the same; I’m sure some worked very hard for a long time with their eyes on the prize, others became leaders by accident due to some circumstance that thrust them into the spotlight, and many were  born at the right place at the right time and seized the opportunity to make their mark on the world; all had to have lots of help along the way. And regardless of how they arrived, at some point they had to own the fact that they did.

But keep in mind that they are no different from you and I. We are all made up of the same biological substance, and at the end of the day, as the saying goes, they put their pants on one leg at time, which means any one of us has the opportunity to be a leader in some way, shape or form – in fact, we can and must be the leaders in our own lives if we are to have any hope or effectiveness at leading others, either directly or by example.

Tomorrow happens to be the International Day of Peace and as I mentioned in last week’s post, “we are all responsible for peace in our piece of the pie.” So why not ask yourself:  Am I leading the life I want to live?  If you were in the running for a little gold statuette, would you be in the leading lady or man category in your own best drama or comedy, in a supporting role or an extra left on the cutting room floor?

Whether a paparazzi deprived/ambushed star or not, someone has to lead in the dance of your life, and the only person to do that is you. 

Feeling like you’re spinning in circles or vetoed at every turn these days? Give me a buzz and I’ll help you get out there with the focus and direction you need to express your true power and potential, putting you at the top of the leaderboard on your own world stage!

Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone. ~ Joni Mitchell (via Janet Jackson)

I recently read that we have “about 100 billion neurons in our brains which also happens to be the approximate number of stars in the Milky Way Galaxy,” further illuminating my belief that “macrocosm and microcosm are mirrors of each other.”    

We are all experiencing some facet of the same reality, some piece of a greater whole (which is why so many of you wonder how I could know what’s going on in your life every week…!). Until we start to truly comprehend that concept, there can be no real progress and we kiss that bright shiny future goodbye.

At some point in our lives we all have suffered or have been witness to the loss of loved ones, a job, our health, money, minds, homes, pets, friends, freedom, security, dignity, identity and the list goes on.  And it seems like we’ve been losing more than ever over the past ten years, doesn’t it?

When so many experience loss at the same time, it provides an opportunity to bond and elicits an empathy that might not normally be there.  The challenge is to keep this awareness on a daily basis so that we can honor each other and appreciate what we have when we have it, but at the same time be sure we don’t fall into a perpetual pity party or throw in the towel because if you work at it and are patient enough and have the right perspective, Things Can Only Get Better.

Another benefit of loss is that it moves us to seek purpose and meaning and to recognize what is important in life, which is pretty much the same for everyone. The more of us who embrace that fact, the more we will desire and take responsibility for creating peace and understanding in our own worlds.    

Looking for a little more Kumbaya these days?  Give me a buzz and I’ll help you see that your glass is indeed half-full, notice the silver lining all around you and channel my practical Pollyanna so you can have peace in your piece of the pie, and be sure you always make the best of what you’ve got, way before it’s gone.

P.S. For related thoughts on this topic, check out my posts Here Today, Gone Tomorrow and You Are Not Alone

I am not a teacher but an awakener. ~ Robert Frost

The dream begins, most of the time, with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you on to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called truth. ~ Dan Rather

Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher. ~ Japanese proverb

It’s that time of year when notebooks and knapsacks abound and all sorts of new beginnings and nerves are in the air, bringing with it the possibilities and excitement that arrive with the start of an academic year.  Whether or not you find yourself in an actual classroom this Fall, we are all students in this school called Life, which means that anyone and any situation can be our teacher, and education can come in all shapes and forms.

It is often those who are closest to us who teach us the exact lessons we never knew we needed (or wanted) to learn – either directly, like my six year old niece, who in her own words very calmly told my brother she wished he hadn’t found the prescription sunglasses he lost for the umpteenth time because he needed to learn to pay better attention to his personal possessions and the harsher consequences of their non-recovery; or indirectly, like a co-worker, friend or family member who likes to talk a lot forces you to be a better listener, have more patience and/or set boundaries.

Whatever ‘class’ you are in, sometimes you must first fail miserably in order to then pass with flying colors, because we can’t learn a thing without making a few mistakes, a little trial and error to perfect that which we need to master…  Hopefully you can figure out that the experience itself was the teacher, or have someone around to help  glean what you need to learn and grow as a result.  The good news is that you will never repeat a ‘class’ when you’ve truly learned the lesson the hard way,  and if you’re lucky, sometimes you can even have a teacher who helps you skip several grades.

Whether you think like Pink Floyd or feel like Lauryn Hill,  learning is a lifelong process and everything serves its purpose in the bigger picture for you to graduate at the end of your life with honors.

So this September be grateful for all those amazing teachers you’ve had both inside the classroom and out.  Thank the role models, mentors and instructors who serve as great examples of achievement and inspiration as well as the challenging bosses, employees and clients, the bullies and mean girls, the tough coach, your current or ex boy/girlfriend/partner/spouse, your pain in the neck big or little brother or sister; anyone who gave you a hard time, and especially those difficult ‘tests’ you endured because they, too, helped form your character, and are all opportunities to make you a better you.

Need to repeat (or stop repeating) a few classes or get a little tutoring to bring you closer to the grade you deserve?  Give me a buzz and I’ll be sure you get a gold star or A+ on that project, because you can make your life much closer to a 4.0 than you could ever imagine!

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