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Typing one-handed is challenging.  Hope to be back on track soon.

illustration: Neil Squire Society


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I’m sorry.  Please forgive me.  I love you.  Thank you.  These are the four sentiments voiced in the Ho’oponopono song.

Ho’oponopono means to make right.  Essentially, it means to make it right with the ancestors, or to make right with the people with whom you have relationships.  It is an ancient Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness.  It is said to bring a sense of immediate peace. 

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“Winning in business or in personal life is all about inches: going small distances successfully; then going farther still.”  —  Vince Lombardi

A lot of success pundits, coaches, and motivational authors and speakers tell you to THINK BIG. Have a big vision in order to succeed. And I agree. Having a bigger vision of what you want to accomplish is necessary to accomplish big things. But more and more these days I find myself coaching clients to think small.

If you or a loved one are out of work, and have been out of work for some time, it’s often difficult to think about the perfect job, or the position you are hoping to rise to in five years. At this stage of the game, many just want a paying job, preferably with benefits. This is not the time to think big…it’s the time to think small.

Focus on the little things in life that we so often take for granted. And appreciate the opportunities that are in front of you…instead of focusing on the fear and lack. You can spend more time with your loved ones, help the children with their homework, toss the ball with the dog, plant some flowers. You can teach yourself a new skill, or take a local adult ed class. Join a Meet Up group. If you are out of work, remember that while it may not feel that way…you are NOT going to be out of work forever. Take advantage of the time you have now.

It’s time to think small when a project you are working on just feels HUGE. If the project you’re working on is so big, with so many moving parts, that you become overwhelmed every time you think about it, let alone try to work on it. This is the time to focus on just the next few itty bitty steps. Locate the phone number of the person you want to call…schedule the time to call on your calendar. Outline the chapters of the book you want to write…commit to writing just one chapter a month. Declutter one drawer rather than thinking about decluttering a whole house. Baby steps.

It may be time to think small about your business too. When we’re in a Think Big state, we (or is it just me?) often complicate things with too many ideas, too many projects. It can be overwhelming, and we do it to ourselves.


1.   Pick just one or two things to focus on each day. One of the challenges I find most clients face is that they are trying to do too much in too little time. The result is too little is finished, or sometimes even gotten too. If you commit to focusing on one or two things in a day, you’ll likely find you will get more done and feel less stressed.

2.  Revel in the little things. Go out and literally smell the roses, or the garlic. Slow down and appreciate your surroundings. Taste your food instead of inhaling it. Stop to have real conversations instead of quick interactions.

3.  Get rid of things. Not just physical clutter, but mental clutter as well. Review the obligations you’ve committed yourself to…do they really serve you? Do you need to withdraw from some? Stop carrying to-do’s in your head. Do a mind dump and put your ideas, your to-dos, the things you are tolerating (like those doctor appointments you haven’t made or that missing button) down on paper. Decide what you will do and what you won’t, and tackle them one at a time.

4.  Focus on being good at what you do, rather than being the biggest or most prolific. If you shift your focus to being good, or even great, you’ll begin to do things differently. If you were hiring an advertising firm…would you rather hire the largest one or the boutique firm where the principle spent time on your account?

5.  Allow yourself double (or triple) the time for everything you do. If you think that writing a letter will take you no more than ten minutes, allow yourself a half hour. If you finish in less time than that…go watch the clouds.

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I am not my mother!

Don’t get me wrong. My mom is great…in fact, she’s one of the smartest people I know. But my mom is a button pusher. She nags, nudges, judges and pokes in an effort to elicit information and the behavioral changes (that of my children, my husband, and me) she wants. She is anti going out to dinner (she believes all food not cooked from scratch is unhealthy), anti going out to bars (she puts alcohol and Sweet and Lo…which she calls the “pink poison”…in the same category) and she is skeptical of any activities she deems frivolous, non-intelligent, or unhealthy (and she deems many activities as unhealthy.) Of course there’s a lot  she’s in favor of..music, dancing, talk radio, MSNBC, but I digress.

I am nothing like that. So why do my children treat me like I am?

As someone who came of age in the sixties, I am pretty liberal in my views about life. I encourage my children to do the things that make them happy.  I believe it’s important for them to enjoy themselves, have a social life, take trips, act like young people. I don’t judge. I offer suggestions with no attachment that they will take them (although sometimes they do, and that’s gratifying to a mother.)

But my children have blocked me on Facebook.

Well, perhaps not exactly blocked me…after several years of invisibility I have recently been granted the “privilege” of being allowed to see their partial profiles. Oh joy. I keep wondering what they don’t want me to see? I know them well enough to know that they are not posting anything scandalous. So what are they protecting themselves (or me) from? It’s quite puzzling.

I know they read my posts. (I’ve fully allowed them a view into my life.  😉 In fact, my daughter complained the other day that I was posting too many updates (I had just turned on my Twitter feed…something she didn’t recognize because she doesn’t Tweet.) But I have nothing to read on theirs.  Come on kids…[Love you!] let me in.

So…if you’re reading this…and you’re one of their friends…since they won’t tell me, will you?  What’s the big deal?

Or if you’ve done the same to your mom…your very cool mom…why?

I really want to know.

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I seem to be on a Happy streak…and that’s a great thing.  My friend and colleague Marci Shimoff’s book, Happy for No Reason, is out in paperback.  To celebrate that, she’s created a happy video that I share with you now.  Watching it will make you smile!

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The YouTube video of the T-Mobile publicity dance has been making it’s way around the globe.

And there’s some controversy around the fact that it was completely staged (even the bystanders) in a train station that was closed to the public.

I say “who cares!”  The fact remains that when I watched this video, the first time and times after, it brought a smile to my face and I wanted to get up and dance myself.  Does it really matter whether or not this was real or staged?  If something can make you smile or laugh, does it need to be spontaneous, or can it be something that’s arranged or staged?

And if it can be arranged or staged…what do you need to arrange to make you smile?

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Yesterday I took a meditation break.  Now I realize that’s not “breaking news”, but for me it’s become a necessity and I wanted to learn to do it better.

Lest you think I’m a newbie to meditation, let me disabuse you of that notion.  I learned Transcendental Meditation back in the early 70s (and still remember my mantra) and since then have used that and many other methods.  But the not-so-secret truth is that I have trouble sitting still to meditate.  My mind races.  I’ve even listened to guided meditations that have the opposite effect. rather than relaxing me, they can make me want to run screaming from the room (I exaggerate a bit.)

I’ve had quite a bit of success with CD meditations, and find that guided meditation works best for me.  I’ve even written and recorded myself in order to have a personalized meditation.

And then yesterday I shared this with friend Stephen Josephs and he led me through a brief (three minute) meditation. [And Stephen, don’t forget that you promised to record it for my IPod] that was refreshing and relaxing.  Stephen is something of an expert in meditation, and we discussed my needing to rebuild my meditation muscle, just a few minutes a day.

I’m guessing there are a lot more “achiever” types out there that share my challenge.  Do you meditate? What do you do to relax?

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