Using the right tool

I was about to make what’s become a regular breakfast: peanut butter on a toasted English muffin. Disappointment struck when I realized I’d used the last of the peanut butter earlier this week. I remembered my frustration trying to get the knife blade to scrape the remnants off the sides of the jar, trying to avoid ending up with a handle — and hand — full of peanut butter. I threw the jar back into the pantry even though I knew it was “empty”.

I really wanted my PBM this morning, so I grabbed the jar — and a spoon. The large curved edge of the spoon easily scraped the sides of the jar clean and provided me with a large enough dose to satisfy my craving.

Made me wonder how often I end up wasting resources at my disposal because I’m using the wrong tool.

Continue to show up

As I flew out of DC today and looked back down our National Mall, I imagined all the young people that would fill the spaces in between the monuments and buildings in the hours to come. I remembered how Marine One darted over my head by the Washington Monument yesterday, carrying the president to a Mar-A-Lago-bound Air Force One. It struck me that those who create a meaningful life are those who SHOW UP. Not just for the main event, but who continue to work, to learn, to improve themselves, and to give, day in and day out.

I applaud and am awed at all the young people who showed up in our capitol and around the country today. You showed up to the big event. Now continue to show up every day. In your classes. In your communities. In the voting booths. In your own hearts. In everything you do.

Intention, every … single … day

Some days, the 1900 calorie limit sucks. Some days, the endless parade of meetings and projects wears on me. Some days, my ambitions feel suffocating. Some days, the veneer of life threatens to crack. Some days, the pieces of the puzzle flicker in and out.

It’s those days when I rely the most on intention. What do I want this day to be? How do I want to feel about myself and my accomplishments? What do I have to do to make it so?

Intention, every … single … day.

Stealing back the week

“In every organization, some employees spend an inordinate amount of time on tasks that don’t really matter.” — Robert Pozen

We’re halfway through the work week — the time I try to do an assessment of how my time spent aligns with my objectives. Wednesday morning provides a great opportunity to steal back the week if it’s gotten out of focus.

Little changes make a big difference

I don’t have a ton of space in my apartment. My dining room table is pushed up against a wall and became that place where I threw all the extraneous stuff that came in the door. It was a stress-inducing eyesore — especially since it’s the background when I have video calls from my home office. Since moving a plant, a few of my favorite books, and a couple of other accents to the table, I’ve been more motivated to keep it clear of clutter. It makes a wonderful place to enjoy my morning coffee, too. Little changes can make a big difference.

Finding opportunity in our reality

Life rarely goes according to plan, does it? This is especially true in our careers. As we move up the ladder, we gain more influence but our widening scope includes more variables that can steer our ship in unforeseen and unwanted directions — away from our intended targets. The position we dreamed of doesn’t materialize. The project we heralded gets bogged down in politics and bureaucracy.

There’s an old adage — don’t waste a good crisis — that encourages us to take those moments of chaos to usher in change faster than we could during more stable periods. I’d argue that we don’t have to wait for crisis to find our opportunities. We just have to effectively see the opportunity in our reality, even when that reality isn’t what we envisioned.

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Starting the day with intention

When I was apartment hunting in 2014, east and west facing windows were high on the list of requirements. I need to clearly see the crack of dawn and end of light of each day. It’s an important time for me, rejuvenating and restorative. The morning light stirs my mind and spirit as I grind the beans for my morning coffee. These moments are an alignment of sorts where I decide what kind of day it’s going to be. Yes, the events of the day may collude to collide with that decision, but my intention prevails more often than not.

Being intentional about personal effectiveness

I manage my time and balance the activities in my life perfectly so that I can achieve my goals.

Does the above statement ring close to true for you? It certainly doesn’t for me.

Despite that, I found myself in front of 30 or so professionals last week talking about time management. It’s funny how we become expert at things, isn’t it? Not in a thousand years did I ever think I’d be the expert in the room when it comes to using time effectively. If those in attendance could see the amount of wasted time in my daily life, they’d have demanded the impostor leave the room.  Read More

Happy on purpose

Just the other day, someone very close to me asked me if I was happy. To me, happiness is nothing more than an incidental side effect, perhaps an aggregation of emotion that stems from feeling like we are doing what we’re supposed to do. I don’t really strive for it, but rather just know it will occur as the result of fulfilling my individual mission statement.

For me, it stems from seeing evidence that I’m having a positive impact in the lives around me, from leaving a better world in my wake. It also builds when I take the time to appreciate the utter phenomenon the world is already.

When the world is as tumultuous and chaotic as ours, I have to look a little deeper into the nooks and crannies for that evidence and focus more on the little things that I can do to make a difference.

Getting out of a negative rut

If we worry, creating more unease and anxiety, we become stellar worriers since our brain is responding, making it easier for us to worry each time we do it, thus creating our default mode living.

While I’m generally someone who finds silver linings in almost any bad predicament, I know I can get stuck in a negative rut (especially when it comes to our current politics!)

We all need a good rant when people and situations challenge us. The danger lives when these rants become our daily outlook.