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Tal.Sherry.BDay.Owl

Friends at The Owl, New Preston, CT

I saw a quote today on the pages of my Gratitude Journal. (As an aside, I really recommend a gratitude journal to help you increase your gratitude for the good things in life, especially in light of not-so-good experiences that we all inevitably have.) I like the quote, so I’m sharing with you.

“Gratitude among friends is like credit among tradesmen: it keeps business up, and maintains commerce. And we pay not because it is just to discharge our debts, but that we might the more easily find lenders on another occasion.”

–Francois, Duc de la Rochefoucauld (1613-1680), French writer, moralist

I am grateful for my friends and try to tell them. For whom are you grateful?

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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!

(more…)

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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.

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Running Like A Mother

So I Ran Like A Mother and completed the 5K yesterday. I planned to walk it since I haven’t run once during my “training” for the 5K. But the atmosphere and my friend encouraging me to at least jog got the best of me and I ran (actually jogged) about half of it. It was fun! And I really like the idea of setting a good example for my daughter and making exercise a part of her daily life. I think that will be a great gift to her that will help her stay fit for life.

So that’s the good news.

The bad news (not really that bad) is that I am no longer losing weight. I reached my goal (which is a weight range) about a week ago by just adding light exercise to my daily schedule. You can see what I’ve been doing on my exercise log. Which means that it is now time to start focusing on my diet.

I don’t like to diet in the sense that I can’t have certain foods because, for me, telling myself that I can’t have something is more likely to make me want to eat it! So I count calories and call it an eating plan. I find this really works for me because I can eat anything I want so long as my daily calorie count is within my acceptable range (again, I like ranges not hard numbers). Of course, once you start counting calories you learn quickly what is high and what is low in calories and what fills you up and what leaves you wanting to eat again in an hour. Ultimately, I end up cutting out the “crap” because when I eat it, I am hungrier than when I eat healthy.

Enough of that for now. I’ll keep you posted on my eating plan and progress.Wish me luck!

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I previously blogged about good posture and how it can instantly make you look fit and trim. Here’s a great post about good posture, why you want it, and how to get it. It’s geared toward moms, but is applicable to everyone.

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Part of my plan for losing my last ten (now four) post-partum pounds was training for and running a road race. It’s only a 5K, but you gotta start somewhere, right? Yesterday I registered for the Run Like A Mother 5K race that will take place on Mother’s Day, May 8. And great for me: registration includes a free training plan.

Here’s what the Run Like a Mother website says about the race founder Megan Searfoss:

Megan … was active in sports throughout high school and college, [but] she started running only 15 years ago, when her younger sister encouraged her to run a marathon. At that point Megan had never run, outside of sports, and her first mile was torturous, so she started her own “training” program and trained via the telephone with her sister, Mele. She trained erratically but devoured everything she could find about running.

She ran the [Big Sur Marathon] and was hooked, quickly realizing that running was a gift to a working mom. All you need is sneakers and a good sports bra. No gym fees, no excuses.

Megan’s oldest daughter was three at the time of her first race, and she ran her next two races a year after each of her next two daughters was born. Running was great motivation to lose the baby weight, yet it was much more than that. It was (and still is) a mind-clearing way for her to start the day. And it’s during the day-to-day running when she has time to think, solve the world’s problems and come up with ideas. It is also through running that she has met her closest friends.

You can also learn more about the race and the Run Like a Mother lifestyle on their Facebook page. If you live near Ridgefield, Conn., join the race and come run with me! If not, just wish me luck!

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I clicked through to this article on Shine from Yahoo! because I wasn’t sure what middle age is. I think when I was growing up, middle age was 40. Now, according to this article, it is 50. That’s great! So I’m not middle aged or even that close to middle age (ok, I’m not that far either). Nevertheless, I read the article and I think it applies to anyone over 30. Some of the “mistakes” include:

  • Not realizing you need to change
  • Comparing yourself to you in your 20s
  • Skipping exercise
  • Not getting enough sleep
  • Using the wrong make-up

Enjoy the article – whatever your age. And look and feel your absolute best!

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