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Keep Dreaming

2018-07-19 09.30.35

Sloth at Manuel Antonio National Park

I was traveling in Costa Rica recently. It was lovely and friendly and wonderful. I highly recommend it, for many reasons that I plan to write about here on various posts. The one that I want to share today is a simple and short quote left on my hotel bed pillow by housekeeping:

“You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream.”

“Nunca serás demasiado viejo para proponerte otra meta o soñar un nuevo sueno.”

I agree. This is related to still not knowing what I want to be when I grow up. And I think it is wonderful. We are never too old to dream, to learn, to achieve, to be whoever and whatever we decide to be. Dream. Grow. Live. Pura Vida! xo

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A version of this post first appeared here at Attorney at Work.

pexels-photo-1252893-e1532693125828.jpeg

Photo by Arthur Ogleznev on Pexels.com

Sometimes your day is cruising happily along when a bump in the road — or a major pothole — comes along to derail you from the easy life. And then there are days when everything seems to go wrong all day long. Life isn’t always easy, but there are steps you can take to make your days better. Here are five.

1. Adopt an attitude of gratitude. Many thought leaders, from Brené Brown to the Dalai Lama, tout the benefits of living with an attitude of gratitude. I agree. This is different than positive thinking in the face of real adversity. Rather, it is seeing life for the reality that it is, and being grateful for what’s good about it even when some parts are not good. My friend Diane Costigan, who is Director of Coaching at Winston & Strawn LLP in New York City,  taught me this phrase when I was working with her as a coach: “What I like about it is …”  This is a great way to live with an attitude of gratitude. It can also make you laugh in the face of trouble. For example, I lost my cellphone (disaster!), but what I like about it is …  I can get an early upgrade to a better phone.

2. Accept reality. As one of my favorite authors, Byron Katie, would say, when you argue with reality you always lose. I love this thought. It makes life much simpler. Katie says to let go of the “shoulds” in your life. Yes, the grocery story clerk should be nicer. Yes, boss should listen to your ideas without interruption and with validation. Your unappreciative family should appreciate how hard you are working and still balancing all the other life stuff that benefits you all. But sometimes the reality is that those things don’t happen, even if they should. The best way to handle these difficulties is to accept that they exist and then work with them. You can either work to remedy them or change something in your life so that you don’t continue to find yourself in a reality that you don’t like.

3. Delegate. It is difficult to succeed without a team. If you don’t have teammates — colleagues, friends, assistants, family — take the time to create a team that can help you handle all your responsibilities. It can be hard to let go of the control to effectively delegate. Let’s be honest, though: If you micro-manage the person to whom you delegate, you aren’t saving yourself any time and you are frustrating them. So instead, take the time to find a competent and cooperative teammate, be very clear in your directions, and let him or her take the responsibility. There may be growing pains, both in your ability to give effective directions and your teammate’s ability to deliver as expected, but it will be worth it.

4. Organize. One of the best ways to keep all your various responsibilities in order and successfully handled is to be organized. Organize your office so that things don’t get lost in the shuffle. Organize your day so that you use your time as efficiently as possible. Organize your life so that you have resources readily available to you. When you are organized, you don’t waste time and energy trying to find whatever you need to be successful.

5. Meditate, then plan. When I am overwhelmed with work and life, I want to jump in as quickly as possible and tackle things. Who has time to plan? Resist that temptation. Take a breath, and take the time to meditate and then plan. Would you build a house without first drafting a plan? Of course not. Take the same approach to your day, your month, and your life. You actually save time when you make a good and thoughtful plan. When you take five minutes to meditate before you plan, your planning with go more smoothly and efficiently. Meditation will clear your mind of the noise and allow you to breathe, slow down and think.

Have a great day!

I am traveling this week. And I found this at the airport! So excited to see at least two companies that “Get it” and care.

Even the top, which appears to be regular plastic, is planted based. I need to research a little, but hopefully that means biodegradable!

I agree, “boxed water is better.”

I have a seven-year-old daughter. And while she is quite joyful, she’s also has a “glass half empty” personality. She could play 8 hours all day with her friends having the best time EVER, yet when it’s time to go home, she forgets all of it and it’s suddenly to worst day of her life!

I’m helping her learn to focus on the good, to shift her perspective. I have experience with this shift because I had to learn it myself. I tell her that her life will be much better, more enjoyable, and much less difficult if she can learn to switch her perspective.

I had to listen to my own advice today. It rained today, for a total of about 30 minutes. That’s all the rain forecasted for the entire day, and the sun is coming out as I write. I went for a run today, which took me 23 minutes. My 23 minute run was smack dab in the middle of the 30 minutes of rain.

So I DECIDED to look at it from a positive perspective. I could hcomplained. I could have decided not to run. But instead, I said: this is the reality. And I can do this even though this is not the reality I thought I wanted. So I ran in the pouring rain. And it was lovely. Seriously. It has been so hot and humid. The rain was like a cool shower for my entire run. Who knew I would enjoy running in the rain.

So I learned something by accepting reality. I experienced something new and I enjoyed it. It was a little thing today, but if I can take this knowledge with me when I face a bigger and more serious challenge, I might have a bigger positive experience and learn something even bigger!

art-blueprint-brainstorming-8704When I was growing up, I wanted to be something different each year. An astronaut. A veterinarian. A dancer. A doctor. An actress. A marine biologist. A civil engineer. The list was long and quite varied in scope. I thought that would change when I was in college, but I still didn’t know what I wanted to be. So I majored in what I liked doing: musical theatre. One of the reasons I wanted to be an actor was so that I didn’t have to choose just one thing to be. I might play a lawyer in one role, a mom in another, a cowgirl, a showgirl, a fairy. Once, I even played half of a cow — the back half! I was always learning new things and experiencing new perspectives.

After college, I was a dancer, then an actor, then a graphic artist, then a paralegal. accounting-achievement-aerial-1043506Then I went to law school and became a lawyer. Finally, I had “one thing” I could be. And like acting, practicing law provides me with the opportunity to be different in each matter: to learn a client’s business, or learn about an entire industry, or practice in different venues. But even that was not sufficient diversity. While practicing law, I became a certified health coach, taught legal writing in law schools, began blogging about health and wellness, and started my freelance writing endeavor. Clearly, I STILL didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up.

And I’ve felt kinda bad about this. Shouldn’t I be able to focus on just my legal career? Luckily, I found this TED talk by Emilie Wapnick and I now know it’s not only ok, but good, that I am the way I am. She calls herself, and people like me, “multipotentialites.” She says a multipotentialite is someone “with many interests and creative pursuits.” She accurately describes our strengths: our ability to learn new things quickly, our ability to synthesize various sources and kinds of information into a cohesive and understandable new idea, and adaptability.

Now I can be happy that I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up! Are you a multipotentialite too? Enjoy yourself!

Follow your curiosity

ask blackboard chalk board chalkboard

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I was listening to an interview with Elizabeth Gilbert the other day. She’s the amazing author of Eat Pray Love and The Signature of All Things and Big Magic. And other books too, but those are the ones I have read. She was being interviewed by Krista Tippett (love her too) of OnBeing. You can listen to the full interview here. In her interview, she said something that really resonated with me. She was asked about following her “passion.” And she responded that she found that intimidating, and suspected other people might as well, because: what if you don’t know what your passion is? what if your passion changes? then what? She said “Follow your curiosity.” I agree.

My passion changes. Sometimes I’m passionate about parenting. Sometimes I’m passionate about running. Sometimes I’m passionate about single-use plastics. And when my “passion” changes, or when it disappears, it doesn’t mean I don’t care about those things anymore. It means I don’t “feel the passion.” And I can feel lost because aren’t we supposed to be passionate about something, and preferably, one thing. But following my curiosity is awesome. It is effortless. We are born as curious beings. As we age, we often lose our sense of curiosity. Watching a child approach life can help us re-ignite our sense of curiosity.

Things I’m curious about: What would happen if I decided to start playing tennis at age 43? What would happen if I tried to give up single-use plastics for a month? What would it be like to go on a silent yoga retreat for a long weekend? How do dreadlocks form in hair? Can I install a fence in my yard on my own? Would anyone else benefit from a blog post about following curiosity? Where does that road that I’ve never taken go? And so much more.

And Gilbert advocates following your curiosity instead of your fear. Curiosity leads to creativity and discovery and growth. Fear keeps us stagnant. I am going to follow my curiosity. What are you curious about?

be kind

Art @ Washington Primary School 

On this Independence Day, when we celebrate our rights and freedoms, all of which were hard fought and won (thank you to those who fought for our freedom), I’d like to propose that we use our rights to free speech, to free assembly, to free association to spread kindness. Be kind to others. Be kind to yourself. Be kind to animals. Be kind to the earth. Be independent. Be free. Be kind.

 

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