This Single Daily Activity Will Change Your Life

When I hit rock bottom in my consulting career, I was miserable to be around.  All I did was bitch and complain – about inadequate management, lazy coworkers, my morning commute, crappy clients, my aching back, my messy house.  You name it, and I found a way to complain about it.Guess where all that got me?


I felt all alone.

Like there was no one in the world who could understand what I was going through.  Like I was working harder than everyone and no one appreciated ME.  Like I was the lynch pin holding it all together and that if I took a step away, the whole world would come crumbling down.

I hadn’t quite realized yet that my world was already crumbling.

There’s something really subtle here that was preventing me from “seeing the light”…

chronic stress
chronic stress

It wasn’t that no one was appreciating me.  IT WAS THAT I WASN’T APPRECIATING ANYONE ELSE.

By focusing on the lack and frustration in my life, I had blinders on when it came to seeing the good things around me.

Once I started to approach my day, my work, my coworkers, and my husband with gratitude, there was an instant shift.

I stopped feeling alone; I was a supported member of a team.  I realized that I wasn’t the only one effective at getting things done, but that in my blindness, I’d failed to utilize the strength in others.  All of a sudden the tightness in my back, which was likely caused by chronic stress, lessened – I felt looser and freer.

The practice of gratitude allowed me to see the world around me in a completely different way than I had previously been experiencing it.  And the world around me hadn’t really changed, but I had.

Now, I spend a few minutes each morning consciously being grateful for the opportunities that will be available to me in the day ahead – even when my mornings are hectic I find a way to get this done: in the shower, during my workout, in the car, as I’m making breakfast.   

I end my day sharing at least 3 things that I’m grateful for with my husband (usually, once the list starts, it expands way beyond just 3 things).  This has been a really beautiful thing for us to do together and has strengthened our relationship in unmeasurable ways.  Who can you share your gratitude with?

Now, it’s your turn. 

TAKE INSPIRED ACTION: How can you consciously practice gratitude every day?

4 Keys to Having It All

How often do we ask ourselves the question: can I have it all?

Our culture pushes us to work for the high-profile job, the big house, the fancy car, the happy marriage, the 2.5 kids, the golden retriever.  Those things will make us happy... won’t they?

having it all
having it all

If you cut through all the bull shit, having it all can actually be really simple... at the end of the day, it’s about a shift in PERSPECTIVE, not about what you have or don’t have.

Don’t get me wrong – shifting your perspective takes work.  It is one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to do, but the process is simple – there are just 4 keys to having it all.

1. Define what ‘having it all’ means to you. 

Success, in work and in life, looks different for each of us.  What does it look like to you?  Dedicate time to answering this question. 

What will having it all look like? 

What will having it all feel like? 

Where will you be when you have it all? 

Who will be with you? 

Get REALLY clear on your vision of having it all.  Write it out as if you already have it and reflect on it often.  

Lastly, ask yourself how your vision makes you feel?  If it doesn’t get you excited, you’re not being truthful with yourself.  If that’s the case, it’s time to go back to the drawing board.

2. Acknowledge that there will always be give and take. 

I’m pretty open about the fact that I think work life balance is bullshit – there is no such thing as balance.  Priorities are in a constant state of flux. 

It’s not all or nothing, but at any given moment in life, something will take priority.  Be OK with that.  Know that some days you’ll work late, some days you’ll need time off for family, some days you’ll be running to happy hour, and some days a romcom will be calling your name. 

3. Set aside time every day to do something you love. 

It is way too easy to get caught up in our to-do lists and in other people’s agendas.  Set aside time, even if just 5 minutes, to do something that makes you smile.  It could be as simple as savoring a delicious cup of tea or rocking out to your new favorite song.  Or it could be more involved – getting lost in a good book, going for a run, getting a massage.  Bottom line: treat yourself well each day.

make you happy
make you happy

4. And the absolute most important key to having it all: be grateful for what you have now.

Gratitude is a really amazing thing.  Gratitude breeds happiness.  Gratitude breeds faith – an expectation that good things fill your life and will continue to fill it each day. 

Practicing gratitude helps us to realize, every day, how much we really do have – you know, all those things we all normally take for granted.

And, if by practicing gratitude, you look frequently, closely, and carefully, you’ll learn you already do have it all.

Feeling Dominated by Your To-Do List? Try this.

I just spent the last 20 minutes STARING at my to-do list. Ever do that?  Like, maybe if I stare long enough, it will just magically get done!  (seriously, if anyone knows how to do that, TELL ME!)

Unfortunately, to-do lists don’t just magically DO themselves, although mine tend to have a habit of growing exponentially all on their own.

If you’re feeling dominated by your To-Do list right now, try this super simple interval time management trick:

  1. Identify a single task or group of related tasks. 
  2. Set a timer (should be visible at all times) for 25 minutes and work on the identified task(s) until the time is up. 
  3. When the timer goes off, STOP.  No matter where you are at in the process, stop immediately at 25 minutes and take a 3-5 minute break doing something else completely.
  4. After completing 4 intervals (2 hours), take a longer break of 15-20 minutes. 
  5. Use as many intervals as necessary to complete the task at hand.  When you’re done, move on to the next task.

Here are some quick tips to master this trick:

  • Try not to get distracted.  If you suddenly remember items that need to be completed, add them to your to-do list, and continue on with the pomodoro. 
  • If an item ABSOLUTELY must be completed immediately, scrap your current interval and complete the necessary item.  Start over again with a full interval. 
  • The 25-minute interval is not divisible, meaning you can’t have a half or a quarter; when you use an interval you use the whole thing – no partials allowed.
  • If you finish an activity before the timer is up, use your extra time to review your work and your efficiency.

Whenever I’m feeling “whelmed”, I whip out my timer, set it for 25 minutes and GET SHIT DONE.  It’s just so darn easy and effective, and it can be applied to pretty much any task, no matter how big or small. 

The 25-minute interval with 3-5 minute breaks has proven to be a really effective time interval for me – its enough time to make solid progress on an activity, but the break time allows for handling distractions and re-grouping, as needed.

In the comments, share your interval time management success!

What's Your Mission? Keys to Crafting Your Personal Mission Statement

Last week I talked about what to do when you wake up totally dreading the day.  Fueling your body right, getting plenty of sleep, surrounding yourself with good, supportive people... all that will absolutely help your cause. But what happens when you feel totally disconnected from your job?  What if you feel like you’re not making a contribution?  What then????

Insert the personal mission statement.

Companies have mission statements; have you ever considered creating one for yourself?

A personal mission statement will help you:

  • Focus on the positive aspects of your work;
  • Contribute to work that aligns with your values; and,
  • Course-correct when things are out of whack.

When crafting your personal mission statement, the goal is to answer the following questions directly and concisely:

  • What do I want to do?
  • Who do I want to help?
  • What is the result? What value will I create?

So how do you get started developing your personal mission statement?  Start by answering these questions:

  1. What activities make you lose track of time?
  2. What makes you feel great about yourself?
  3. Who inspires you most? (Anyone you know or do not know. Family, friends, authors, artists, leaders, etc.) Which qualities inspire you, in each person?
  4. What comes easily to you?  What are you amazing at?
  5. When do you feel powerful, passionate, free, incredibly useful, excited, inspired?
  6. What would you like to STOP doing?
  7. How would you like to be seen, recognized, acknowledged, awarded, praised?
  8. What do people typically ask you for help with?  What do people thank you for?
  9. If you had to teach something, what would you teach?
  10. What are your biggest past successes (work, home, personal, etc.)?  Is there a common theme (or themes)?  If so, write them down.
  11. What causes do you strongly believe in? Connect with?
  12. If you could get a message across to a large group of people. Who would those people be? What would your message be?

Read through your answers from above.  Do you notice any common themes?  Combine your answers to the above questions to craft an overarching personal mission statement (1-3 sentences is ideal).


This week, develop your personal mission statement and take action on at least one of the following:

  1. What three actions can you take this week to nurture your true strengths and live your mission?
  2. What three things will you stop doing this week to live in alignment with your mission?
  3. Who can support you in living your mission?  Identify your “starters”.