Sunday, April 7th, 2013 at
If you’ve been following my recent posts, you will recall that I started a new job this past week in upstate New York after relocating from Mississippi, where I have lived for the past 8 years. You can imagine that taking the leap of faith involved in moving 20+ hours North from our friends and loved ones was rather nerve wracking. But I vowed to follow the advise I’ve been offering on Chasing Your Fire about pursuing your passion and doing the brave thing, so I closed my eyes and prayed for a soft landing on the other side.
Reflecting on this past week, I am thrilled to report that embarking on this adventure is undoubtedly one of the best decisions that I have made in a really, really long time. Again life proved to me how important it is to move beyond your comfort zone. Despite my Southern friends’ warnings about the coldness of “Northern folk,” I have only met absolutely wonderful, genuine people who have welcomed me sincerely and warmly at every opportunity. As I write this, I feel more at home, invigorated, and happy than I have in a long time.
This experience has reminded me how beautiful and wonderfully unpredictable life is. As we close one chapter of our lives (whatever that might look like), a next chapter is always waiting, ready to be discovered. Like a gripping novel, if we keep flipping the pages, we’ll find that so many exciting, wonderful details of our stories are yet to unfold.
So this week I want to pose you with a challenge. There is an activity often used in counseling, called, “My Life As A Book,” that encourages reflection on the past, present and future chapters of our lives. I have included it below because it is so important to allow ourselves time to think about the tough stuff. Happy soul searching, friends!
Read the rest of this entry
Thursday, February 21st, 2013 at
I just love the quote above by English photographer Cecil Beaton. Who says being a grown-up should be boring? It’s interesting how we start our lives so innocently optimistic, soaking up life’s adventures while wearing big smiles and carrying big dreams. And then suddenly we start playing by someone else’s rules, don’t we? We focus so much on the days at our feet and the status quo that we forget to work towards making our extraordinary dreams take flight.
Well that’s just ridiculous, isn’t it? Being a grown-up doesn’t have to be boring. Though you are not a child anymore, you can still explore, hope, and dream. It is still a time for you to do the hard things, to go our own way, and to be extraordinary. Now is the time for you to chase your fire!
Meet Robby Novak – better known as the ‘Kid President‘ – an adorable 9-year-old dressed up in a snazzy suit. I think you might just appreciate his enthusiastic and much needed ”Pep Talk” today. His mission is simple, yet profound: “To make grown-ups less boring, to make the world awesome, and to make people dance.” Prepare to be inspired. Read the rest of this entry
Thursday, February 14th, 2013 at
How sweet it is to feel the love of someone special on Valentine’s Day. For many, this holiday is the perfect opportunity to express care, (re)kindle romance, and make special memories together to last a lifetime. Though for others, Valentine’s Day is perhaps the most dreaded day of the year. Dubbed “Singles Awareness Day,” it seems to be an evil plot to shine a giant spotlight on the lonely and broken-hearted.
Earlier today one of the sweetest people I have ever known told me (in the wake of a recent break-up) that she is scared that she’ll never find her life partner. “I don’t have much more time to waste,” she said discouraged, worried about her “shelf life” as a woman. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing! In what universe would someone like her not end up happy and loved?
(In full disclosure, I had those same fears during my late twenties. In fact, the night my now-husband proposed, all I kept saying over and over was, “I didn’t think I would ever get married!” Though it was a sincere expression of disbelief and delight, it was so embarrassing that my mother had to ask me to stop saying that. But let me tell you, if I can find a wonderful partner, so can my sweet, talented, and beautiful friend.)
So I reminded her of a few things that I think might be equally valuable for the rest of you single ladies and gents out there to hear. So listen closely: Read the rest of this entry
Thursday, January 31st, 2013 at
A few days ago I was asked to name a person who I aspire to be like. As a Career Counselor and scholar, it seemed expected that I name some hot shot in my field (of which there are plenty). But instead, I said confidently, “Lindsey Stirling.” I watched as my interviewer flipped through his mental Rolodex for a few seconds with no luck. With crinkled forehead he asked, ”Who!?!”
Lindsey Stirling. The girl whose spirit is on fire in the most obvious of ways. The girl who gives all of herself to the moment as she does the thing that she was destined to do. The girl who fills the world with joy, one violin stroke at a time.
Just watch the video below, and you’ll see exactly what I mean: Read the rest of this entry
Thursday, December 13th, 2012 at
A business man on holiday in Africa watched a little fishing boat dock at the quayside of a tiny fishing village. Noting the quality of the fish, the consultant asked the fisherman how long it had taken to catch them. ”Not very long,” answered the fisherman. “Then, why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more?” asked the consultant. The fisherman explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family. The consultant asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”
“I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, and have an afternoon’s rest under a coconut tree. In the evenings, I go see my friends, have a few drinks, play the drums, and sing a few songs… I have a full and happy life,” replied the fisherman.
The business man scratches his head, trying to understand why the fisherman is not motivated to achieve greater business success. Having learned much about business at Harvard, he turns to the fisherman and shares an elaborate 20-year plan that would expand the fisherman’s fleet and eventually grant him the opportunity to move to a city where he could direct a huge enterprise. Even better still, he would be able to sell shares in his company and make millions!
“Millions? Really? And after that?” pressed the fisherman. The business man replied, Read the rest of this entry
Thursday, December 6th, 2012 at
What do you do when the alarm clock summons you into consciousness each morning? Do you lay there for a minute, thinking, “Noooo! Can’t I just stay here all day?” or do you jump out of bed excited about the promise that the day brings?
Sadly, not many people wake up eager for the day ahead. Life is complicated and messy, and circumstances can often leave you feeling heavy, tired, and burned out. Maybe your current job is not inspiring you, maybe the reality of your impending college graduation or retirement is debilitating, maybe you don’t have the support that you seek both personally and professionally, or maybe you don’t know how you let the life you imagined slip out of your fingers.
Everyone feels defeated and overwhelmed at some point or another. Thing is, instead of getting up and doing something about it we stand there frozen in disbelief and fear – like deer in the headlights.
I can’t tell you how many times I meet with clients who come to me desperate for answers when in truth they know exactly what they want for their lives – but are getting in their own way. They focus on obstacles, fears, and the millions of reasons why it can’t be done instead of working to overcome the odds. They spend hours following the realities of others on television instead of living their own lives to the fullest, keeping up with the happenings of their friends on Facebook instead of making meaningful real-life connections, or “pinning” things that they would like to do (travel, cook, craft, decorate, etc.), while never turning the computer off long enough to actually go do them. Read the rest of this entry
Monday, November 26th, 2012 at
Legend has it that novelist Ernest Hemingway was once asked to write a full story in only six words. Seemingly an impossible feat, Hemingway responded near effortlessly: “For Sale: baby shoes, never worn.”
What a profound visual despite his brevity of words! It’s not surprising that this idea has caught on in a big way. Smith Magazine, for instance, has coined the term “Six Word Memoir ®” to encourage readers to submit their life’s stories in only 6 words. The result is a vast selection of funny, meaningful, and clever memoirs spanning many topics. (Click on the words below to explore the memoirs on their website!)
after always another away before being best better breakup can’t could dad day
death didn’t divorce don’t down enough even ever every everything eyes family feel
first found friend friends god going good happy hard heart her him his home hope
how i’m it’s know last left let life like little live living long lost love loved made
make many mom more mother much myself need never new night nothing now off
old once only other out over pain people right said say see she six still stop suicide
take things think thought through time today want was what when where who why
words work would years
Though there are many fun applications of the “6 words” concept, I’m especially excited about the way that it can support self-reflection and discovery. Not too long ago, a question was posed on a women’s forum that I belong to on LinkedIn: “Describe your life’s story in only 6 words.” Nearly 500 women across the world responded, revealing volumes about their identity, passion, purpose, life roles, and much more. Read the rest of this entry
Friday, November 16th, 2012 at
there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I’m too tough for him,
I say, stay in there, I’m not going
to let anybody see
there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I’m too tough for him,
stay down, do you want to mess
you want to screw up the
there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I’m too clever, I only let him out
at night sometimes
when everybody’s asleep. Read the rest of this entry
Thursday, November 8th, 2012 at
Last week I wrote a post to inspire you to be kind and to show unconditional love to those around you. The response I received on social media was overwhelming, and a beautiful discussion unfolded on LinkedIn as professional women from all over the country shared incredible stories about the kindness of others. From strangers providing shelter after tragedy, to mere acquintances staying by hospital beds and offering financial assistance, the stories were so heartfelt and meaningful that the conversation has lingered with me all week.
What struck me most is that the stories were often of unsung heroes who had no idea that their random acts of kindness would have such a lasting impact on these women’s lives. Though there were no medals and sometimes even no contact past the moment shared, the impact rippled through their lives in unimaginable ways – like real life examples of the movie, “Pay It Forward.”
We know kindness is powerful, especially at times when others are down and out, or when they seemingly least deserve it. The world would be a wonderful place if we were all kind to each other all of the time. Sadly, we know that this is not the case, and that unkindness can be equally powerful and have lasting impact. For instance, there’s been a lot of news coverage about workplace bullying lately, which includes acts like repeated and unwarranted criticism, unjustified blame, disparate treatment, verbal assault, exclusion or social isolation, and purposeful humiliation. Such acts are incredibly cruel, and they would most certainly chip away at even the strongest optimist. Who wouldn’t eventually start to wonder what they do wrong to deserve such treatment? Read the rest of this entry
Thursday, November 1st, 2012 at
One of the most beautiful parts of what I do is that, as a Counselor, people allow me to see who they really are. For most of my clients, as soon as the office door closes behind them, their walls come down with a sigh of relief and they let me in. Do you know how exhausting it is spending all of your energy trying to be strong, when really all you want to do is to curl up into a little ball and cry?
Those deep, dark places can be very scary. They are often filled with self-doubt, anger, and sadness, and are locked away together with memories and fears that we don’t know what else to do with. We don’t often talk about those things.We’d much rather hide them from others out of fear that they render us broken, tainted, or worse yet, unlovable somehow. So we put a big ol’ band aid on our hearts and act like big kids.We decide it best not to talk about our problems because if we don’t see it or if we pretend that the pain isn’t there, it won’t hurt, right? Wrong. The problem is,
It is very, very lonely behind the walls that we build to keep ourselves safe.
It makes me sad that so many people have shown me parts of their hearts that even their loved ones don’t know about. It seems incredibly counter intuitive that although we are infinitely capable of love, compassion, and empathy, we shut others out in an effort to avoid vulnerability. The result is that we all walk around trying to convince the world that we have our ‘stuff’ together, when in truth, I’m pretty convinced that most of us don’t. Read the rest of this entry