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The most raw, honest and profound interview.

Friends, this is the most raw, honest and profound interview I’ve ever given.

Please listen and allow it to change how you connect with people everywhere.

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How To Eliminate International Women’s Day

international womans day

I’m really struggling with International Women’s Day. Anyone who knows me even a little would think I’m a big fan but truth be told I have mixed feelings.

Very rarely in my life have I actually allowed any experience of limitations because I’m a woman to stop me. I’ve seen it, heard it and felt it. I’ve been literally patted on the head and told I couldn’t do a “man’s job.” I simply refuse to listen to such idiocy. How about an ‘International Not-All-Men-Are-Idiots Day’?

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How do you start your day?

Hi Research has shown that the busiest, most successful leaders in the world don’t dive straight into work; they begin with a self-care routine to get themselves grounded.

Even when my body was in such bad shape I couldn’t leave my bedroom most of my days began with meditation, prayer, and whatever exercise/movement I was capable of doing. Most days (nope not perfect) I read the Bible and sit in silent meditation, which centers me and calms erratic bouncing thoughts. I stretch and build muscle. For a long time, making the bed was a serious form of exercise! As I grow in strength and my energy improves I’m able to do a little more every day.

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Lead with Love

lead with love

Have you ever considered how selfish the phrase, “Be my Valentine” sounds? It’s all about what’s in it for you.

The very best Valentines cost nothing – love, gentleness, kindness, humility, meekness (a word more like tolerance in modern culture), and patience.

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Think like a Kid Watching Clouds

photo credit: http://bit.ly/1POObcF

I recently read in an Inc. Magazine article, “The average person rarely considers how ordinary things can be made better or improved–those with the entrepreneurial spirit can’t help themselves.”

I’m laughing, remembering when I envisioned how a portable x-ray machine could be re-made to look like a cartoon snail or how institutional vertical blinds could be transformed into swaying 18th-century dancers. I can’t help myself; the world is full of potential for whimsical improvement! This sort of creative, entrepreneurial spirit is badly needed by many organizations and individuals struggling to push progress.

Thinking creatively means allowing your mind to connect seemingly unrelated dots. Do you remember watching clouds as a kid and seeing shapes? “That one looks like an elephant!” As adults, most people lose the ability to see something for anything except what we know it to be. That limitation clogs thinking and stalls “creative problem solving.” What problem are you wrestling with, unable to see new solutions for?

To build your creative thinking ability you have to make it a part of your daily habits like brushing your teeth and putting on underwear (please tell me you do that!). Try starting with this simple doodling game for exercising creative muscle: Grab a pencil and paper. Close your eyes and scribble randomly. If you’re the type who needs structure then set a timer for 1 minute. Open your eyes. Look at your ‘art’ and write down all the different things that you see in the picture. This may require some big leaps of imagination! Making these “cloud shape” type comparisons is known as metaphorical thinking, a critical component of creativity.

Now push the paper aside and do something else. Later in the day grab the paper and look again. Turn it different ways in front of you. Hold it at a distance. Try tilting it at different angles. What else do you see this time? Creativity requires resting the brain. It’s an incubation period where neurons continue to make connections in the background while your frontal lobe works on tasks at hand.

Remember lazy summer days laying in the grass watching clouds? You were relaxed, unhurried, and playful – not at all stressed, busy, and corporate. Counter-intuitively, to dream up creative solutions to big problems, grown-ups need to pretend they’re just kids watching clouds.

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Shower with Attention

I get in the shower and do my usual shampoo, condition, soap, etc. I don’t think about what I’m doing; I think about conflicts scrambling through my head, or what I’m going to eat, or what I’m going to write on Facebook, or anything that has nothing to do with showering. Then something snaps me back….

Surgery. I’ve had a lot of experience being snapped back to a focus on the present moment. Let me be clear, pain sucks. It could be surgical pain, death of a loved one, or corporate politics. But if you pay attention you’ll find that pain, and all the activity around it, pulls your focus sharply into the present moment. It teaches us something very important about living right now. So back to showering….

Today, 48 hours after my latest surgery, I remove the firmly taped gauze dressing to see what will become my newest scar. “Not bad!” I think. The bathroom is starting to steam as I step into hot water cascading from an extra wide showerhead. I’m instantly reminded of each glorious, difficult, joyful shower that I’ve had since March 1, 2014. You may not remember any particular shower of the last two years, but I do. After 118 days hospitalized in less than 2 years, including 20+ surgeries, showers have become a precious achievement for me.

Today, I revel in the hot water cascading over my head still throbbing from anesthesia. I wash my hair twice, only because it feels amazing. Tension softens across my swollen left hip, held together with thread and bloodied steri-strips, as hot water and soap bubbles gently soothe the assaulted area. I step out onto a knobby cotton mat and dry off with a large, soft towel.

Ordinary things, little things, possess great value. The same goes for people. When we give the present moment, and all that it contains, our undivided attention we find magic. This applies most of all to our interactions with people, especially those who seem ordinary and possibly inconsequential. During my lengthy hospital stays my favorite people were those who mopped the floors and emptied the trash, unsung heroes all. I showered them with attention and in return my room was always immaculate. Where are the unsung heroes in your world? Is it the cashier at a convenience store? Or the receptionist in your office? If someone seems unimportant, shower them with attention! Magic happens when we recognize value in ordinary places.