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Empathy by Design

“I think like a designer,” I commented to a friend recently. “No,” she answered, “you ARE a designer. “ Hmmm….come to think of it…..

For the last two weeks I’ve obsessed over tiny details of the plans for our new house. A tape measure, 1/4” scale ruler, sharp pencil and an eraser have been my best friends. I didn’t create the house plan, but I’m making it work for our family and my accessibility needs because I use a cane, walker or wheelchair at any given time. We love our current custom house, but the lack of universal design creates a lot of challenges.  Read more

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”FEARLESS”

Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Each year I choose one word to be my focus for the year. Typically by the last quarter of the year I already know what my Word of the Year needs to be. For example, 2016 was a brutal year that included the death of my beloved grandfather and a fierce case of shingles. Then in the fourth quarter the year wrapped up with a badly broken right wrist that cost all of independent mobility. By then I knew that my word for 2017 would be FEARLESS. Read more

Give Up Expectations, Receive Love

What Christmas is really all about.

 

In the simplest of terms, the message of Christmas is to Love One Another. Why do we sometimes find this so hard to do?

The answer is just as simple – We want to be in control. Our way, our expectations, our ideas of how things should play out. At least that’s where I get tripped up. Perhaps this rings true for you as well. Read more

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Genuine Stories Create Extraordinary IMPACT

Tell YOUR story

On an ideal day, before starting work I’ll meditate, write in a journal and read a devotional. If feeling really crazy I’ll exercise. It helps to begin the day with solid footing and elevated aspirations.

Yesterday morning I read the Bible verse, “Give your contributions privately. Your Father sees what you do in private. He will reward you.” Matthew‬ ‭6:4‭ Regardless of your beliefs, that wisdom rings especially true in this age of social media and personal branding. Too many people (in my not-so-humble opinion) wear their ‘altruism’ overtly publicly which begs the question: for whom are they doing it? (Someone with proper grammar please tell me if who or whom is correct there.)

Now here I am with a dilemma. Do I keep my experience yesterday private or do I share it publicly because I was profoundly moved? Let’s first go back…. Read more

Lower Holiday Stress just by Breathing

December 1st and up goes our Christmas tree! And so it begins. Although the granddaddy holiday month of December sings peace and goodwill, the shopping malls and highways tell the real truth. You know what I’m talking about. If ever there was a time for practicing centering, mindful meditation it’s now. When you intentionally slow down and focus on one thing at a time, you’ll enjoy the true spirit of the holidays. You’ll also enjoy powerful lessons in stress reduction that can be applied any time.  Read more

The Extraordinary Impact of Gratitude

This time of year, most Americans focus on thankfulness. (Canadians were thankful last month.) Social media abounds with posts touting gratitude, service, and reconciliation. Let’s all come together!

And then January happens…..

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A Strong Funny Bone Can’t Be Broken

On an ordinary sunny afternoon, after an energetic workout at the gym, I tripped at home over a shoe (my shoe) and sprawled face first with outstretched arms onto the tile floor of our kitchen. Ouch! Two broken elbows, a cracked wrist and several strained ligaments later I once again experienced everything changing in an instant. I wasn’t laughing. At first….

Have you ever felt slammed with problems and dependent on others for help? One misstep, just a slight misjudgment, is all it takes to equal disaster. Sometimes it’s not even your misstep, but you’re the one left to deal with the fallout. Then what? Read more

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A Crash Course in Leadership

 

It’s Not Enough to Just Show Up

Woody Allen once said that “Seventy percent of success is showing up.”

Too often, however, we have leaders in place that simply show up and conduct business as usual. They give out instructions, make big decisions and control who works for them and when. But as you all know, showing up is only half the battle. The real success is found when a leader decides to put others first.

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Be Genuine while Faking It

Elisa Hays Speaker

On June 14 three years ago, I woke up in my own bed for the first time after three and a half months in hospitals. It was a Saturday and we had a birthday party for our daughter Sarah. I stepped into a bright new day and the beginning of getting on with living.

Only two days prior in the rehab hospital I had charmed my way into convincing the doctors to send me home a week earlier than they had planned. I had been hospitalized for St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, my wedding Anniversary, and my 47th birthday. I was determined to be home for Sarah’s party. My husband Steve did all the preparations of course, but I chatted with the giggly 14-year old girls and joined in festivities. In brief conversations and on Facebook posts I seemed completely cogent. Like myself. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.

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How to Get Off the Leash

We live with continuous bombardment of interruptions – phone calls, emails, texts, Facebook messages, people dropping by, etc, etc rinse and repeat.

They can all seem equally important and demanding. We don’t want to miss anything, disappoint someone or fail somehow because we’re not fast enough to respond to everyone at the moment they want it. But maybe we need to question whether the pressure to ‘multitask’ is valid.

Are we allowing ourselves to be trained into an ADD way of living? Are we allowing others to expect from us what is actually an unreasonable rate of response? In other words, are we the big dog or the puppy?

Our brains can only focus on one thing at a time. That is the truth and there’s a heap of research to back it. When we hop spastically from one interruption to the next we slow down productivity, accuracy and most importantly real connection to humanity. For more on “How Multitasking Hurts Your Brain (and Your Effectiveness at Work)” check out this Forbes article.

Insist on one thing at a time. Purposefully set your intention and focus on what’s right now. Protect your time and energy; it’s really all any of us have. Turn off the sound on your phone while you’re working. Be bold and turn off those ever-tempting instant notifications. You’re not ignoring anyone; just check notifications when it fits in your time and ability to give full attention. It’s OK to control the input in your life. We can respect the needs of others without allowing ourselves to be yanked around like a puppy on a leash.

Remember, a leader is the big dog – neither a lone wolf nor a puppy.

I help organizations build whole-hearted communities through ‘half-assed’ leadership. We work together in three ways: speaking, consulting, and executive coaching. Step up from the ordinary…. Contact me today.