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One way to Be Great is to Be Healthy. Many of the issues that affect our health are actually a result of chronic inflammation. One tasty way to reduce inflammation is with green tea. Now that is it spring, I made Green Sun Tea on my deck. I added turmeric, which is an Asian spice in the ginger family with a great bright yellow color. Turmeric contains curcumin, which reduces the production of a protein that makes your immune system work overtime, thus causing inflammation. I also added ginger because I love ginger. It’s also good for your digestive system, so why not!

2018-05-03 15.06.36Take 3 cups water, 4 green tea bags, one turmeric/ginger herbal tea blend bag, and a few pieces candied ginger. Put all in a  large mason jar (or a washed glass peanut butter jar, which is what I used). Put out in the sun for several hours. Remove the ginger. Pour all into a pitcher, add 3 cups cold water, and chill. Delish!

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One way to Be Great is to show compassion and give of ourselves. There are even ways to actually give part of yourself as a compassionate act of giving. My daughter did such an act last week: she cut off 12 inches of her beautiful hair to donate to Locks of Love.

2018-04-30 16.05.07

Locks of Love is a public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children under age 21 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis. According to Locks of Love website:

“Our mission is to return a sense of self, confidence and normalcy to children suffering from hair loss by utilizing donated ponytails to provide the highest quality hair prosthetics to financially disadvantaged children. The children receive hair prostheses free of charge.”

It’s a small thing to cut your hair, but the difference it can make for another child is BIG.

Be Great! #begreat

pexels-photo-433495.jpegI wrote previously about my May goals: essentially Being Great, which to me means being healthy, being present, participating in my community, nurturing my relationships, and contributing to others. As I think about how to Be Great, I discussed five personality and life traits that enable us to Be Great: being Compassionate, Listening, being Assertive, being Creative, and Persevering.

These are BIG ideas and they bring to mind BIG changes and whole movements of groups of people. But don’t forget to think small too. We can make a BIG difference by doing small things consistently. 

Decide how you want to Be Great, what you want to do to Be Great, then do something small everyday. And you will make a BIG difference!

This article first appeared as “Five Traits of Great Lawyers” on April 20, 2018 at Attorney@Work. It has been adapted below to apply to all people, not just lawyers. You can see the original post here.

What makes a great person? Is it intelligence, good people skills, effective communication? Of course, we must have a certain level of intelligence and motivation, along with experience and opportunities. But the truth is, the traits that transform a good person into a great person may not be the ones you think.

Here are five traits that make a person stand above the rest. Cultivating these traits provides the opportunity to really understand others and life, and lead an effective life.

1. Compassion

Compassion is an emotional response whereby one perceives another’s problem and authentically, genuinely wants to help resolve the problem. This is part of what people do: friends come to us with their problems, or to avoid future problems, and we help resolve or avoid the issues, whichever the case may be. If you don’t find yourself in this helpful position often, you may not think that compassion is important. But it is. The compassionate person focuses on how others feel and is accepting of their perspective, whether or not he ultimately agrees with it.

Compassion is the foundation for good people skills. Without compassion, you cannot put yourself in another person’s shoes or fully understand the problems they face. Without compassion, you cannot understand your adverse positions, anticipate what will happen, and take pre-emptive steps to avoid future problems. Without it, you cannot provide the best solutions.

2. Ability to Listen

Effective communication skills are essential to good relationships. One of the most important aspects of communication is listening. Of course, what we say, how we say it and when we say it are important. But we can only do it right if we listen first. Listen to the people that matter to you. Listen to your family, friends, adversaries, and colleagues. We must take in much information, analyze and synthesize it, and exercise good judgment to help. It starts with listening.

3. Assertiveness, Not Aggressiveness

I often hear people say, “She’s not aggressive enough to be effective.” That’s not right. You don’t need to be aggressive — though you must be assertive. Assertive people state their opinions and make themselves heard, while remaining respectful of others. Aggressive people attack or ignore others’ opinions in favor of their own.

Much like those who lack compassion, overly aggressive people cannot understand another’s position when it varies from their own. That makes them ineffective at understanding the problem and thus incapable of providing an effective solution. Even more detrimental, overly aggressive people act without respect for others. This damages interpersonal relationships, ultimately leading to an uncooperative environment that makes resolution or agreement impossible.

4. Creativity

We need to be creative to find real solutions to the issues that arise in life. Each problem is unique; each must be handled differently, and each solution carefully crafted. We must learn to think outside the box. The best way to create unique solutions is to approach each situation with compassionate listening, which enables you to really understand the issues and what is needed. That level of understanding can lead to long-lasting solutions that work for all interested parties. Stalemates often arise when one person fails to approach the problem with compassionate listening and, instead, becomes unnecessarily aggressive. Don’t be that way.

5. Perseverance

Success is achieved with perseverance. We must keep working, keep trying and keep going. We must be able to walk away when things are not working, take a break and come back fresh and ready to “fight,” negotiate or whatever life requires.

Now go out there and be great!

Continue Reading »

runner-race-competition-female.jpgIt’s May. Springtime is finally here. This month, while I’ll continue my Earth Day projects, I’m focusing on Being Great. To me, that means being healthy, being present, participating in my community, nurturing my relationships, and contributing to others.

On Being Healthy: I started my health goals earlier this year in February, and took them up a notch last month by joining a small running (actually, jogging) club. We have a coach who sets individual schedules for us, and we check in each day via Messenger regarding our times and how we feel. What this has taught me is the importance of an accountability partner.

I don’t like running/jogging. But I’ve improved and jogged a 5k on Earth Day with my club members. I’ve run in the rain. I’ve run in the snow. I’ve run when I didn’t want and didn’t have time. Because I knew my accountability partners were doing it, so I couldn’t just shirk my duties.

Most people will let themselves down, but letting others down is less likely to happen. I’ll discuss my other health goals in later posts, and how you can achieve your goals too, but, as you think about your goals, also consider who would be a great accountability partner for you. It makes a world of difference if you have a friend on the journey with you.

Post-Earth Day Musings

pexels-photo-983988.jpegOn Earth Day, my seven year old daughter and I did a roadside clean up in our small town. Looking around, as you drive down the roads of this idyllic place, you wouldn’t guess that there was so much litter hidden under the leaves and grasses. It was surprising to me. Most of the litter was food and drink containers, especially alcoholic beverages. That’s disturbing on two levels. First, clearly there are lots of people drinking while driving, and disposing of the evidence out the windows of their cars. That’s dangerous. Second, some people care very little about themselves, others, and the environment.

Clearly, we need a paradigm shift so that people care. What is the underlying issue that leads people to not care? What do you think? Or is it something else? Is it just too difficult to care? There’s too many other things to think about, to manage, to accomplish, to handle? Either way, we need to make it easier to care — for ourselves, others, and our earth. Continue Reading »

As we near Earth Day — tomorrow, pexels-photo-704979.jpegApril 22, 2018 — I’m thinking about how I can make a bigger impact than just in my own home. If everyone made the same changes I’ve made, then the world would have much less plastic pollution going forward. But these changes have been really hard, and not everyone has the time, money, energy, or motivation to make the changes. What we need is a paradigm shift, so that reducing use of single-use plastics is easy.

I’m thinking about plastic straws and cutlery. I’d like to help the restaurants in my town not offer plastic straws and cutlery. Or at least only give them if specifically requested. Instead, straws and cutlery made from paper, bamboo or wood would be the norm.

I think it will take: education, product options, and political support. In my small town, there are three cafes, one pizza place, one deli, one sushi restaurant, and two full-service restaurants. That’s only 8 places. I’m putting together a plan. I’ll share it as it develops and keep you posted on how it’s going. Let me know your thoughts!

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