My Cup Runneth Over

"Once upon a time, a scholar came to visit a saint. After the scholar had been orating and propounding for a while, the saint proposed some tea. She slowly filled the scholar's cup: gradually the tea rose to the very brim and began spilling over onto the table, yet she kept pouring and pouring. The scholar burst out: "Stop! You can't add anything to something that's already full!" The saint set down the teapot and replied, "Exactly." In his Psychology Today blog, "Your Wise Brain," Rick Hanson writes about creating and appreciating emptiness as a contrast to the often over-full lives we lead. You know what I mean- running from appointment to appointment, answering emails one after another, piling more stuff into your closet- a life without time and space to reflect and ruminate on life itself.

Hanson writes that we must consciously step back from this nonstop pace and learn how to put space between all that we do. Breathe. Pause. Allow for thought. Enjoy doing or thinking one thing at a time.

Here's a great quote from Hanson's blog: " Drop the stuff you can no longer afford to lug around. At sea level, you can run with a brick in your backpack, but if you're hiking on a mountain, that brick's got to go. Similarly, most of us have some habits, indulgences, ideas, grudges, or fixations that were kind of OK at one time but now - with changing circumstances (such as juggling more balls, raising a family, aging) - are wearing you down and really need to go. What's your own brick? What would you gain by emptying it out of your own backpack?"

I'm looking forward to using some of these suggestions to add more space to my life. Will you?



Listen and Learn

When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know.  But when you listen, you may learn something new.    Dalai Lama In a previous post from 2014, I wrote about my intention to Listen and Learn. How coincidental that the Dalai Lama has a quote relevant to that!

Enjoy the last few weeks of summer, and pay attention. You might learn something.


Enough is Enough

"If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough."  - Oprah Winfrey "Enough is enough is enough" - Paul Jabara and Donna Summer

Those of you who have read my previous blog posts know that I have chosen intentions rather than resolutions to set the tone for my year. (In case you haven't memorized them, 2013's was "Less judgement, more compassion" and 2014's was "Listen and learn").

This year's intention is "Enough."  In reflecting on this word, it became clear that there was more than one way to approach the concept of "enough" and its application to my work and my life. Enough, as in: Does what I am doing make me happy? Am I satisfied? How can I show my appreciation for all that I have that brings me what I need?

But also, enough, as in: What doesn't make me happy about what I am doing? What are my boundaries? What is burdening me or stressing me, and how can I make that go away? How can I create a world that is joyful and satisfying for me and others?

As always, I will be integrating this intention into my daily life, seeing how it affects my perspective and my actions.  I will keep you posted!

Please be in touch to discuss your consulting needs.





Time to Focus

I recently found myself with some unscheduled time, and decided to use it to catch up on reading the latest of Daniel Goleman’s books, Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence. In my work with nonprofit CEOs, I often draw from Goleman’s insights on emotional intelligence.Focus takes his concepts on EI and re-packages them in a new way, encouraging mindfulness to enhance self-awareness and create needed balance. Focus is defined as a mental asset that is essential for achieving success.  It can be trained, like a muscle, to be strong and supportive.  In today’s multi-tasking, multi-technology world, it’s easy to think in short spurts (like tweets) rather than about the bigger picture.  But good leaders need to be able to do both, and to achieve balance.

Goleman says there are three levels of focus: inner, outer and other.  Inner focus incorporates values, intuition, and decision-making capabilities.  Outer focus enables existence in the larger world, and other focus governs social interactions and connections.  Together, these levels of focus provide guidance, intelligence and navigation.  Leaders who are able to cultivate each of these levels tend to be more self-aware, and more able to use their balanced focus to achieve success.

These successful leaders excel at listening to others while creating vision and direction together; coaching others to be better team members; collaborating and building consensus; and building trust.

How can leaders improve their performance and be more successful? Goleman says that by strengthening their focus through mindfulness, leaders can develop the skills to either “zoom in” to the internal environment or “zoom out” to concentrate on the broader perspective, as needed.

I'm looking forward to applying the techniques I possess to encourage mindfulnessand to help my CEO clients achieve balance and focus.