#22 Interview a Person You Admire

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#22

Interview a Person You Admire

The point of this suggestion is to take some time to ask questions of a person whom you deeply admire. It may be a high profile person, a town celebrity, an old teacher, an executive of your company, the pastor of your church, or it could be an elderly Aunt that you’ve never ‘really’ gotten to know.

Life Lessons

The goal is to garner information that you may not yet know about living a good life. How did they become someone worthy of admiration? What are their takeaways from their own experiences? What perspectives helped them through tough times?

When we take the time to listen – we learn. Sitting with someone with whom you’d like to emulate offers a tremendous opportunity to get into the life lesson fast lane. While their experiences are undoubtedly different than yours, the perspective and skills may be generally applicable.

Tips for Success

I’ll make the assumption that most of us will be interviewing someone who has had some success either in their professions, in their spiritual journey, or in their relationships. How did they do it? What goals did they set? What steps did they actively take to reach those goals? How did they handle the challenges? What attributes allowed them to persevere? Did they fail? What did they learn from failure?

In this era of instant gratification, I know many of us don’t want to work through all the kinks that learning presents. We want to be successful now. Knowing how others accomplished the pinnacle of the mountain you’re climbing may offer a more clear path to the top. Take the time to learn the tips and tricks they used to get there.

Lifelong Student

I don’t see this as a ‘one and done’ kind of activity. Because our lives are always changing, there will most certainly be people in our lives frequently with whom we can have these conversations. It may be a great tradition to practice annually. Choose someone in your life with potential to ‘teach’ you and invite them to lunch or dinner. Pick their brain and then record the essence of that conversation for inclusion in your own life plan. No matter where you are currently in your own journey, there is someone there you may learn from. Take the time to look around and…

Interview a person you admire.

TTAH

Listen to me on Try This at Home – a series of conversations about making life better.

You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, or Feedburner

 

 

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#43 Create a Romantic Road Map

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#43

Create a Romantic Road Map

Did you have a year end review with your boss? Did you review goals and set new ones? Do you have a workout plan? Have you made a commitment to work out or lose weight? Are you in school? Do you know exactly what classes you need to complete in order to meet your objective? These are common ambitions at the beginning of the year and yet I find that very few people turn the same attention to their romantic relationships.

Long Term Growth

Your relationship is a long term objective. It requires nurturing and effort and as such, it will benefit from all the energy you commit in designing a plan for its own specific growth and development. Indeed, those that are ignored rarely flourish.

Making a Road map

Where do you see yourself as a couple? What do you have in common? What are your individual growth aspirations? How are you supporting one another in achieving them? When do you spend time together and what do you do? How have your needs changed? Do you have savings goals? Projects to complete? All of these questions can be a springboard in helping you design your relationship road map.

Togetherness

Of course, in designing this road map, you’ll want to do it together. You may want to individually craft some ideas to save time and then blend them together in a more organized manner that moves you toward a common theme. The most important element of the road map is a clear plan to GROW your relationship. Defining dedicated time together is perhaps, the most common mistake that couples make and it’s apparent when the show up for relationship counseling.

Follow the Map

As with any effort of getting to a new place, we seldom end up there randomly. It’s important to have a plan and follow it – even if you get sidetracked. In fact, it’s helpful to have a plan B or some contingencies that will offer some breathing room for you to get back on track. We can’t always plan for the things that life dishes out but knowing that we’ve dedicated some energy to knowing how to stay focused on the end game is helpful.

Grab your partner, a tablet and pen, a cuppa coffee or glass of wine, and devote a few hours to designing the map of your romance. Keep it alive and well by…

Creating a romantic road map.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#179 Learn Sign Language

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#179

Learn sign language

When I was in high school, I played the part of Annie Sullivan in our school play production of The Miracle Worker. She was the woman who taught Helen Keller as a child, how to communicate with the world. As a result of that experience, I learned the sign language alphabet and at that time, became rather proficient at spelling out words. Since I was the only one in my environment who had the skill – it didn’t do me much good. At least until my sisters learned it and then – we had fun discussing things secretly even in a crowded n those skills.

I didn’t have much motivation to broaden my knowledge until I was babysitting him one evening. He kept trying to get out of bed and even though he was trying to signal something to me, I was being quite stern. He wasn’t old enough to write things down and I was tired. Eventually, his persistence wore me down and I indicated that he could get up and do whatever it was he wanted so badly. The poor kid ran as fast as he could into the bathroom and I felt like a rotten Aunt. It was motivation.

Eventually I was in a position to learn American Sign Language (ASL)- the most common type of ‘signing’ in the Deaf community. I was known to be theatrical and so it was a good fit because a lot of the communication is via inference of facial expressions and body movement. By then, my nephew was much older and although I didn’t see him often, it was nice to be able to ‘converse’ and I could comprehend most of what he was conveying to me. Over time and without practice, my ‘signing’ became majorly rusty and barely discernible.

Sign language isn’t just for deaf people. There are lots of occasions where interpreters are needed as the American Disabilities Act requires public and certain private organizations to provide assistance so that the hearing impaired can receive the same information that hearing individuals have access to. How many times have you found yourself in a situation where you couldn’t (or shouldn’t) speak but needed to send a message across the room? I know many of us use texting for this purpose! People who know sign language enjoy an alternative mode of transporting messages.

ASL is widely becoming accepted as a ‘second language’ in the public education space. It is an option now in many foreign language departments across the USA. Some organizations offer classes and many of the people who act as interpreters in churches and synagogues also teach small groups locally. Generally, it’s easy to find an inexpensive and convenient forum to learn.

Earlier this year one of the suggestions I made was to both learn something new and to take a class. This suggestion encompasses both! I hope you’ll consider the overall benefits of creating new neural pathways, setting and reaching a goal, as well as having a little fun as you look for a class and make the decision to …

Learn sign language.

 

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below

#181 Celebrate A Milestone

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#181

Celebrate A Milestone

Yesterday, I crossed the threshold of a milestone that is meaningful to me. I’ve published a daily post for six entire months! When I started this task of compiling 365 thoughts/ideas/tips of how to live live better, I didn’t really give much consideration to the significance of the challenge to write every day for an entire year. Shortly after moving forward, I realized it was going to take some appreciable thought and perseverance. While I have another 182 days to go in order to accomplish the task as a whole, I feel rather accomplished at reaching this point; it’s more than I’ve ever done.

Life is filled with milestones

There are so many milestones in our lives that we leave unacknowledged or downplay… what about that first time you finish a 5K? Or the time that you were offered a salary you had reached for? What about the savings goal you worked hard to accomplish? Those things are beyond the new promotion, the new house, marriage, middle age, and retirement but definitely worth celebrating!

Honor Yourself

When you acknowledge and celebrate even your small accomplishments, you honor the work you put forth. You’re taking a moment to recognize the part of you that benefits from praise and appreciation. It’s an audible “I did it” and an unceremonious “yay for me” that is deserved. Why not? It’s important to learn how to validate oneself – not in the pursuit of conceit or zealous pride – just an appreciative sense of accomplishment.

Celebrate

So today, I invite you to self-congratulate – if even for a moment – for something significant that you’ve accomplished recently. What major goal have you surpassed? What challenge have you conquered for the first time? What golden ring have you grabbed? Think carefully, pour a glass of wine, pop open a beer (unless you are celebrating a recovery milestone!), or grab a chocolate chip cookie and…

Celebrate a milestone!

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below

#212 Make a “Before I Die” List

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#212

Make a ‘Before I Die’ list

What kind of things are on your bucket list? Who do you want to settle things with? What do you want to learn before you die? No matter how much time you have in front of you, it’s possible you have a long list of things you want to do before your time on this Earth runs out. Put it in writing.

Topics

I recommend that the list be divided into categories such as travel, people, learning, achievements, and good will as well as any other header that you deem appropriate. It doesn’t matter how outrageous it seems today as we never know what our future holds. Disregard – in the moment at least – the money  needed to achieve any list item; this is just a ‘master’ list; a dream list.

I suggest that one of the lists is ‘little’ things – regardless of topic – so that while you plan for the bigger, perhaps more expensive things, you are still accomplishing items from your list and generating a sense of satisfaction. I know someone that simply wants to “keep a houseplant alive” on her list.

Prioritize

Because we never know what tomorrow may bring, go back to each topic and prioritize the items there. If you want to travel to London, Quebec, and Fiji before you die, which one is most important? Second? Third? Which topic is most important to you? Is learning more important to you now than travel? Does good will tug at your heartstrings more than accomplishment? Since you’ll feel good about mastering the things that are important to you, you’ll need to identify them.

Begin

For many, this may be the hard part. Our thoughts are always running away in short fantasy about how we’ll live our lives and then we get caught up in the day-to-day living things, claiming that there aren’t enough hours in a day. Life needs balance and it is important to foster a sense of anticipation, excitement, and achievement. In order to feel those things, we have to step up and ‘just do it’. So… think about what’s important to you, what brings you joy, and what is happening when you feel satisfied. Then, with pen in hand…

Make a ‘Before I Die’ list.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

Decisions

Continued from Soulful Expedition

“By your decisions, you paint a portrait of Who You Are” –Neale Donald Walsch

The entire year of 2005 felt disjointed… I vacillated between believing that I was making a good decision and wanting everything to go back to the way it was – well, not really… I wanted it to be the way I wanted it to be. I didn’t want what I had but I did want all of the things that we had dreamt about. I didn’t make those dreams by myself. Hubby was right there, using his own paintbrush to create the portrait of our lives together. I thought we had been painting on the same canvas, using the same colors, and sharing a muse.

Existing in the same environment was unbelievably difficult. It fostered an obscure sense of hope during those moments that were like a transparency overlay of ‘normal’ on the reality we were living. I knew when Hubby didn’t come home at night and I couldn’t help but wonder where he was or who he was with. Even though I didn’t want that mania in my life, I didn’t want to be without it – another conundrum that fought to root in my mind. I just couldn’t get myself to a place where I didn’t care.  In many ways, it was like a slow, excruciating, painful death… seemingly absent of an endpoint.

Frank graduated from college in May that year and I made arrangements to take the girls. I had booked the hotel room six months in advance and shared the location with family so I was surrounded by love as Hubby and I shared the first major life event since decision day, partitioned from one another. We had agreed that we would attempt to ‘co-parent’ effectively right from the beginning but this was our first ‘major’ test. We would have to take pictures that Frank could look at for the remainder of his life – a celebration for him – somewhat tortuous for us as we understood the completeness, the totality of the end of our marriage. And yet, we struggled to believe it.

We would occasionally discuss a reconciliation but I had learned how to establish boundaries of steel. Actually, my boundaries by then were made of vertical steel columns and horizontal I-beams… the kind you find in skyscrapers that keep them vertical regardless of violent summer storms. Those limitations included an exit strategy for Abee from our business and some kind of treatment initiative, a long-term – evidence based – plan to eliminate the potential for infidelity to ever again exist in our marriage. I was unwilling to budge from those two ‘deal breakers’. They were my ‘hard limits’ and they represented the dead end of every bridging conversation we attempted to have. He also had deal breakers.

Nevertheless, we continued to show up – separately – at swim meets, school, and scouting events but didn’t sit together. I wasn’t there yet. There were times when I could feel his eyes seeking mine but I refused to give in and glance back. I was insanely stubborn and unyielding, refusing to be flexible. This is the result of betrayal. It was the only way I knew to ‘fight back’ and the love I had for our children was bigger than the disdain I had for him. I put their interests first to the extent that it wasn’t complete and total disrespect of myself. I had finally learned to put self-respect first.

After being deceived by Hubby and Abee, our therapist fired them as clients but I still went. I was learning a lot about myself although I admit I was still a bit lost. I was directionless. I knew I wanted to share everything I was learning – about life, life lessons, love, God, spiritual growth, I knew there was a message there but I had no credentials other than my life and I was in the middle of some big stuff. I credited my therapist for being the map reader for me … helping me to lay it out and observe the roads, to help me decide on the destination and to plan the route there. I wanted to do that too… I decided that summer that I would become a therapist and was almost immediately dismayed at the expanse of the journey. Five years. I would be fifty. Shit. I felt defeated and bested. I was in the middle of a divorce; how could I make that happen?

Right after Frank graduated from college, I started. I was scared to death of Behavioral Statistics and even more so when this tiny, petite, old (really, she was 70 something) woman walked into the room wearing a full suit with a high collared blouse, buttoned to the top. It was 80 degrees outside and for some reason, there was no air-conditioning. She spoke in a low monotone voice and cleared her throat every 5th word. The chick behind me started texting a mile a minute (I could hear every button push) and I knew I was in trouble. Within a week, I understood that if I raised my hand, asked questions, and demonstrated (well-deserved) respect for my elders… It would all be ok. More than half the class had dropped but I survived. I got a B.  I was encouraged and so I registered for a full semester of Psychology classes, French, and Women’s Studies beginning in September. I had only a few months left before I became a full-time student.

I used that time to educate myself in a different way. I was more fortunate than many, many women like me… I owned half of a company that had some value. I was still married to a man who generated a healthy income and continued to pay the bills so I didn’t ‘have to’ work – not right then at least. I had to believe in divine direction because at any other time before, the circumstances were different, the resources less abundant, and so now… I had options. The timing of the reality provided the capacity for me – with much diligence – to investigate and navigate what would be in my (and the children’s) best interest. I was a hawk. My eyes and ears were everywhere from business evaluation to support allowances. I became an expert traversing Google; discovering resources and precedent for situations like mine and I waited.

With each passing day, I garnered strength. I used my support network, built new alliances, and got informed. I kept my finger on the pulse of the finances in our business and stood up for my rights as co-owner. I will comment again on how difficult it was to walk away from that part of me. The internal struggle to push through it and go to work even if it meant I had to be around Hubby and Abee versus letting go and observing it in action was at times, maddening. On the few occasions that I did drop in for one reason or another, it was like breaking through a barrier betrayal and disillusionment, like what football players do as they enter a stadium for a game rematch each week. I finally had to decide that constant exposure to such painful energy was simply unhealthy for me, keeping me tethered to the shadows of my soul. It was my first true experience of ‘letting go’ that I consciously practiced and it was laborious; a daily endeavor.

My goal was to stay focused on love. I knew that was the most important decision I could make for myself and for my future. I was tempted, so tempted to give in to my anger, my contempt, the humiliation, and sorrow… and occasionally I did, in the form of vile language directed at Hubby or the disparaging conversations I would have with friends or in my thoughts; my ugly thoughts. I am only human though and I knew that love was more dominate in my spirit and so I learned to forgive myself and to keep going.