Leadership Class; sharing a more meaningful life?


Some days the world just comes together and I feel like I really made a difference in people’s lives.  Helping adults learn and grow is always rewarding but this particular experience was mesmerizing and special.

I was teaching a leadership class to faculty and staff at a local college. The group was small, only eight participants but it was a cohort that had already been through 5 – four hour trainings and numerous lunch and learns.  The most exciting part of their curriculum was that they were asked to work together to solve a retention issue for the college.  I had only a small part in their journey.  I taught a 1.5-hour lunch and learn on conflict resolution and a four-hour class called Professionalism, your brand and presentations.  I was not given much direction on the topic just some bullet points so I decided to design it so that the participants would get both personal and professional development.

I designed the class so that each exercise built up to the presentations at the very end.  Each participant would discover and document their unique strengths, talents and abilities as it relates to professionalism and leadership.  There were many reflection exercises where they wrote about a topic (i.e.,professionalism) and then highlight the words that resonated with them.  They then answered questions about their roles professionally and personally in their lives and created a list of their top 5 values.  They did an analysis of all of the information.  After they had completed the analysis, I had them walk around campus and talk out loud to themselves; reading what they had written so it would “sink in” for the extroverts.

Next, I demonstrated my story and elevator “pitch” so they had an example of what I was expecting for their presentations.  I gave them about 15 minutes to pull it together; then they signed up for an order on the white board.  It is amazing how important it is to people when giving presentations to know if they will go first or middle or last.  I wanted them to be comfortable.

The presentations were incredible.  The first to go was a professor who comfortably sat in front of a table in front of us and talked about when he was a middle school math teacher.  He described five different students and how he had noticed and diagnosed their issues and helped them in this pre-teen time in their lives.  He talked not just about math and school but, about their lives, motivation and direction.  It was touching to see this self-proclaimed “Jedi-master (geek)” talking about his former students with such tenderness.  Next, one of the ladies did not know what “she wanted to be when she grew up”.  I suggested that she talk about what she does best.  She described her past jobs in customer service, in retail, at hotels, etc.  It seemed that she had an epiphany as she was talking – she paused and said, “I just realized that all of my jobs are helping people and now that I work for this college my family life is way more important to me”.  That was an amazing statement for her – a realization in front of the class.  A young woman went next and described working for 13 years with disabled students.  She said that after five years most people burn out but she loves to help them.  Then she dropped the news on the class; she is leaving her position and going back to school to become a psychologist.  The class literally jumped out of their seats and congratulated her but were shocked to hear that she will be leaving their group and the college.  Next, a guidance counselor spoke.  She was one of the quietest of the group.  She started talking about Lee, a student whose mother died and he went to live with his grandmother – then she died.  She told us that she was all that Lee had, and how she helped him.  As she shared his story she got tears in her eyes, her voice cracked, and she had a difficult time continuing.  We all teared up when she told us that he has only two classes left before he graduates.  The next woman commented, “how am I going to follow that?” She had just had a baby and said she was still a bit hormonal but gave her presentation about how she almost died while giving birth and not to take life too seriously.  She had a most wonderful elevator speech about how much she cares about the employees she helps in the HR office.  We all continued to share tissues.  Finally, the last person told about how he was bullied in school and realized that he has a natural talent to detect how students need help understanding issues.  He is now a professor who helps his students not just understand his curriculum but realize that they CAN get a degree and make a difference.

I love to see how people can discover their unique gifts and share them with others.  It is heartwarming to hear how these leaders used their experiences to help others in the world.  While working at George Mason University I facilitated leadership classes where the participant’s shared their projects and the presentations.  They also did get very personal and emotional as they were sharing their projects with their peers.  I still keep in contact with some of those leaders and they continue to inspire me.  I have learned through reading, that people remember and learn better when the curriculum is tied to emotion and they can apply their most emotional moments, experiences and thoughts.  But, experiencing these breakthroughs is a pure pleasure and honor.  I thanked this group for participating and sharing.  One of them told me that this is the first class that he did not feel like he had just lost 4 hours of his life.  I guess that is a great compliment.

What types of classes or learning experiences have made a difference in your life or in the lives of your participants?

#leadership #humanresources #training #emotionalintelligence #sharing  #leadershipclass

Lori blog











Olympic dreams driven by Affirmations


I am motivated by the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.  Yes, the Olympics teaches us so many things about human behavior, motivation, and discipline.  I am amazed by the tales of athletes thrills and agony. Every two years I realize that I learn more about myself and life as I watch the Olympic dramas for two weeks; night after night.

First, the thrill of victory is ever present in the snowboarding this year.  Red Gerard is only 18 and from Cleveland, OH, not Colorado.  This young man won the gold medal in snowboard slopestyle.  He looked so grateful as he hugged his coaches and teammates before he started his run.  When he finished he hugged another teammate while waiting to hear his score.  When he finally heard that he was in first place his family went crazy with celebration.  Chloe Kim, another young Olympian was the favorite and she has the soul of a champion.  She knew that she did not have to do anything to win at the beginning of her last run.  She already had the gold medal, but she would not settle for just “OK”.  Chloe took a deep breath and relaxed.  She seemed like she was having the time of her life.  She spun and jumped and slid to the highest score so far, even beating her gold medal score of her other runs.  She was not satisfied with her score; she knew that she could do better.  She did much better.  The judges were amazed as was the entire audience.

Now about the agony of defeat. Shaun White, the 31-year-old veteran, already had 2 Olympic gold medals, but not from the last two games.  At the 2014 games in Sochi, Shaun got 4th place.  He was devastated because he was (of course) favored to win the gold again.  As I watched a documentary about him, I was surprised by his recent change of character.  He used to be a brash young man who became rich and famous after the first games.  He is the father of snowboarding.  He constantly bragged about his house in Malibu and showed off his riches.  Of course, the documentary did not touch on the alleged sexual harassment charge, it focused on his defeat.  Not only was he defeated in the Sochi games but months earlier he landed on his face during a competition.  It is his job to fly 12 feet into the air but this time he landed on concrete ice; he got a face full of stitches.  He seemed to be at his low point in life.  However, he commented that he was grateful that he lost and was injured.  He stated that he learned so much and it made him want to win more.  He said that he did not train harder physically; he changed his mindset.  He had been beaten for the first time. He was humble, quieter, and more thoughtful.  Mr. White seemed more mature after his devastating experience.  Now, of course, if you or I got 4th place in the Olympics we would not call this a devastating experience but for a two-time previous gold medal winner and expected favorite – this was not expected.  As reported this experience of being at his lowest low changed his life.  Now, this agony of defeat story does have a very happy ending.  After a bit of drama, Shaun White won the gold in 2018.  Not only did he win, he earned it.  He may have settled for the Silver Medal but he gave his very best not to be defeated by a 17-year-old Phenom from Japan.

My favorite Olympic story is about self-doubt.  Mikaela Shiffrin, a favorite to win at least two skiing events, shared a story about her anxiety on the slopes.  She would get very nervous before her ski runs and vomit at the top of the hill.  She went to see a coach to learn more about her anxiety.  She realized that she wanted to be the BEST skier in the world and realized how much that meant to her.  She was afraid of not being the best.  The coach taught her affirmations.  This is interesting because when I teach I tell my classes that being positive and having a good attitude is a learned skill.  My favorite phrase is “Now, let me teach you the most powerful words in the English language.”  Those words are “I am”.  If you put those two words in front the words you desire; an affirmation is created.  For example, “I am powerful”, “I am good”, “I am confident in my abilities to _____.”  Mikaela’s coach taught her those same words.  I heard her state her affirmations on TV last night.  “I am good”, “I am confident” “I want it.”  This skier even has the words “I AM” written in Sharpie on her green ski gloves.  It gives me hope and motivation to continue my affirmations and tapping exercises.

I experience self-doubt and end up procrastinating to not produce the results that I know I can produce. Most people I know have told me they self-sabotage at times.  Most of this is not planned.  I do not want to slow down my success consciously.  I am not even aware of why I procrastinate, delay or not do a task that I know will lead to my success.  But, I am aware that I do this behavior.  As they say, “awareness is the first step” (to behavior change I assume).  I will continue to repeat my affirmations, my mantra, and tapping exercises in the hopes that my behavior will change and I will reach my goals successfully.

Each year I am amazed by the Olympics, the athletes amazing skills, and their heartfelt stories.  This year I was happy that Mikaela Shiffrin shared her story with NBC and the media.  I hope that more people start saying affirmations to feel less self-doubt.  I hope that more people realize they have so much potential and strive to be their best.  I hope that more people overcome their demons and other obstacles.  I hope we all reach our dreams.

Lori blog#


#emotionalintelligence #affirmations #self-awareness #IAM



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Better not Bitter

forgiveRecently, I was teaching a class on emotional intelligence (EQ) and one of the participants asked if forgiveness was a part of EQ.  I thought about the answer but, as an experienced facilitator, I did not give an answer.  I instead asked, “What do you think?”  This started a long conversation about forgiveness and how intelligent it is to forgive and not to hold a grudge against another person.

After thinking about this conversation for a few days, I decided to reflect on, and conduct some research on the concept of forgiveness.  As always, I try to find a definition of the term or concept that I am teaching or trying to understand.  After checking out a few definitions, I resonated with this one by the Mayo Clinic Staff.  “Forgiveness involves a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge.”  Next, my mind jumped to the opposite of forgiveness – resentment and revenge – holding a grudge.  All people are different when it comes to their tolerance of forgiving and letting go (please refer to the song).  I’ve always been one of the lucky ones that can “let it go” better than most.  If I am upset and feeling unforgiving one day; I usually wake up the next morning feeling better and I have forgiven.  However, I have many people in my family who do not have this gift.  In fact, they have the opposite “gift”; the gift of grudge holding.

Imagine that you are a marine.  You are trained to fight and defend your country.  You go to war to fight the enemy.  Next, you hear that your younger sister, a nurse, has decided to heal the enemy.  You, the marine, decide not to talk to your sister ever again.  This choice she made was unforgiveable.  She could have healed the person who killed your “brothers”.  He did not talk to his sister for over thirty years.  This indeed is a very difficult situation and I have heard of much worse.  This marine is my father.  I never met my aunt as an adult.  I had no memory of her.  When I was in my mid 30s I had a child and my aunt sent me a card.  I had heard the story of her choice, of my dad’s choice.  My dad never spoke about my aunt.  She was not a part of his family any longer.   Who is hurt by unforgiveness?  I’m sure my aunt was hurt.  She never met ¼ of her family.  But, I am sure my father was hurt as well and our family was wounded and damaged.

My class discussed the wounds, the damage, and the bitterness.  One of the women in the class said to forgive you would feel better not bitter.  Next, we talked about better not bitter being the next “catch phrase”. Then we looked it up online and discovered that there were many books with that title and some religious sermons.  We told stories about people we knew who chose to be bitter and not better such as the story about my father.  Jane, told a story about her sister, Frieda, who never had any friends because no one could live up to her expectations.  If her new friend let her down she would not forgive her and excommunicated her (off the island!) as my dad did to his sister.  The only ironic part about this story is that the new friend never knew that Frieda was holding this grudge.  The friend would play with someone else on the playground and not think twice about Frieda.  Meanwhile, Frieda was fuming and festering with thoughts of resentment and revenge.  Frieda was getting more bitter by the moment.  Soon, Frieda had no friends not only because no one could live up to her high expectations, but because she was always grumpy and bitter.  This cycle continued until Frieda went to college and got a roommate who didn’t let her get away with the silent treatment.  This roomie, Kristi, wanted Frieda to go out dancing with everyone else on the dorm floor.  Finally, Frieda couldn’t resist having fun in college.  She was “cured” of her bitterness because she made a choice to change.  As soon as Frieda made that choice, she felt better and had a happier life.

We can forgive even after many years of holding a grudge.  My father finally did see his sister again before she died.  I think that helped heal the family and his life.

Coming full circle, back to the question about forgiveness being part of emotional intelligence.  It is not a factor or one of the dimensions.  However, forgiveness as we have seen through these stories is part of our interpersonal relationships; which is one of the factors in EQ.  When we forgive, our interpersonal relationships are healthier and happier.  So, if you hold resentment and often think about revenge over something that has happened with a friend, make that choice to forgive.  Choose better, not bitter.

#betternotbitter   #forgiveness   #emotionalintelligence

Lori blog








What is Organizational Development anyway?

organizationYears ago I was working as a trainer/instructional designer for a small company when my supervisor, the Operations VP remarked that our employees did not seem to have loyalty to the organization.   This was a small start up tech company and most of the employees were remote.  She told me that the engineers would stay for about 6 months then leave.  Some did not stay that long.  It was a huge problem for the company.  She also said that these engineers needed training.

The Engineers would join the company then go out immediately on assignment with an experienced engineer.  They would watch and learn from the experienced engineer.  That was their training.  When they “got it” they would head out on their own.  Each new engineer was assigned randomly to an experienced engineer. Some experienced engineers were good at “teaching” the “new guys” and some were not so good.  She thought that this was not enough training for the new “guys” and that is why they hired me.  I was supposed to train the engineers so they would all have the same training.  The main goal was that if the engineers all had the same training and they felt comfortable, they would not leave the company.

So, I did what I was asked and more.  I took about a month to research the task, interview and shadow the experienced engineers, find my SMEs, talk to some clients and do some analysis.  I created a 1.5 week training that taught the new engineers the hard skills; how to rack and stack, configure a switch, set up the server and the storage array.  I created a class called Consulting 101.  This class consisted of the soft skills; how to start your conversation with the client, how to keep them informed, how to escalate an issue and how to have the final conversation/walk through before they were left with their new equipment.  I also created an orientation so that the engineers would feel more connected to the company.  They learned more about the organization, the purpose, people and other engineers.  We all thought this would solve the problem.

The executive team seemed pleased with the results.  Instead of hiring one engineer at a time we would bring in 4 to 6 and put them through the training then send them out to shadow for a few days.  The “new guys” were not leaving and we could weed out the non-committed or the “guys who just did not get it” in the first two weeks.  This training seemed to be working.

After I worked for this company for about a year I realized that there were deeper issues than training.  I won’t get into what these issues were (in this blog post) but there were quite a few.  If I had known more about organization development, I would have asked more questions of the Operations VP.  I would have tried to get to the root of the matter, rather than just following orders from my supervisor.  If I had taken a class or even a webinar, I would have had more knowledge of what I should have done at that time.

Deborah Covin Wilson, president of Wilson Associates and I, will be facilitating an ATD Essentials class called The Essentials of Organizational Development; The mysterious world of OD explained.  In this 3-part webinar series, we will discuss how to analyze data to make recommendations and communicate results to the stakeholders.  Furthermore, we will explore how to select the appropriate organizational development intervention and measure the success of a specific OD intervention and how to become aware of common mistakes and pitfalls during the OD intervention.  You will develop a plan to create an OD implementation in you own organization.  We will experience an OD intervention through a case study and explore the ways in which you can use new skills to achieve your business results. Participants will become familiar with resources they can go to for additional assistance in the future.  Sharing experiences between participants is highly encouraged for better learning.  Go to the ATD website to sign up!


Lori blog

Join Deborah Covin Wilson and Lori Ann Roth for a live online webinar sign up at



#organizationdevelopment  #organizationaldevelopment  #Associationoftalentdevelopment  #webinar


Word for the Year 2018

RelationshipsEach year I choose a word or phrase that I think about for the entire year.  This word helps me to focus more specifically on my goals.  I learned about the one word from my business coach, Sheri Kaye Hoff.  Then, I researched on Google to see if this is a “thing” that many people do or if it is just a quiet secret.  It IS a “thing”.  One word is a website that helps people choose their word.  It gives suggestions to see which word resonates with you. One word is so much easier than making New Year’s Resolutions or setting goals.  Of course, I set SMART goals each year but the one word helps me focus if I get overwhelmed.  Let me share my last three words/years with you as an example of how one word has worked for me.

In 2016, I choose Fearless as my word.  I decided in January that I would move from Northern Virginia to Southwest Florida.  I have been planning this move in my mind for at least 10 years.  I always said that when my “baby” goes to college I will finally move to Florida.  The time had come, Mick, my baby, was 19 years old and out of the house with almost a year of college behind him.  I would be fearless, leave a stable job to start my own business, leave the house I had owned for 20 years and find a new house in a state where I had never lived.  I will do this!  This is my dream.  I was also fearless throughout the process of selling and buying a house.  Fearless was a perfect word for that year.  Every time I felt some fear or doubted myself I would think about my word and my goals and feel FEARLESS.

In 2017, I choose two words that resonated with me.  Outrageous Abundance.  I even wrote a blog post about my amazing walk on the beach where I saw my words in action.  I select those words because I felt like I wanted to start my life in Florida with such abundance since I had left many friends, colleagues, my work team and neighbors.  I did not feel abundant in December of 2016 and hoped to feel more abundant in December of 2017.  In fact, this year was such an amazing year for me.  It was full of challenges, new opportunities, learning experiences and relationships.  I left all jobs behind and started two new businesses;  Learning and Reflective Growth and a distributor for Lip Sense.  I also took classes to become a better coach and grow my coaching business.  I met so many wonderful people from Bright Coach and reconnected with an old friend after 20 years.  I joined BNI in Sarasota and can’t believe how many wonderful, smart and motivated people I’ve met.  I worked hard to fit into this team and won rookie of the year for my BNI chapter; an honor I treasure.  I’m starting friendships with some extremely talented people and they are helping me and supporting me as I grow my business.  I joined ATD Suncoast in Tampa and volunteered for the board where I got a ticket to Crystal City, VA to learn more about my new “job”.  I also got to see a lot of VA/DC friends. My most outrageous abundance is my relationship with my new husband, Angel D. Garcia.  We have so much love and joy.  He supports me and loves me and even goes to see the sunset with me (even though he has it on video – his words, not mine).  We are legally starting our lives together with such an abundance of love, fun, laughter and joy.

In 2018, my word will be Relationships.  As a Myers-Briggs, ENTJ, feelings do not come easily to me.  I tend to think of the tasks first, then the people.  I prefer to concentrate on jobs, calendars and lists.  This year is the year that I pour my energy into relationships.  I’ve been getting better at friendships for the last 10 years.  Facebook has helped me keep current with people I don’t see often.  I recently reconnected with Linda Demmer and Kalana Elaster from my college days at Michigan State University.  Next, I added five of my son’s Au Pairs to my Facebook and am “watching” them get married and have children of their own.  In 2018, I hope to make new friends and keep the old.  As the girl scout song goes, “make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other’s gold”.  My number one relationship to focus on in 2018 will be the relationship with my husband.  I will be patient, kind and loving to this man.  I will also try to clean as I cook, which does NOT come naturally to me.

In conclusion, I challenge each of you to choose a word that resonates with you and focus on that theme throughout the 2018 year.  Good luck and Happy New Year to all.

Lori blog

#oneword  #newyear  #resolutions  #relationships



Just Be

fireworkI could not sleep the other night.  I kept waking up, tossing and turning.  Next, I would try to relax myself with good thoughts and meditation.  Then, I finally felt wide awake and got out of bed at 4:30 am.  I went downstairs, got my dog out of her crate and went to the lanai by the pool.  I sat on a lounge chair wrapped in a furry blanked, my dog, Remmy, sat between my legs and relaxed.  My mind was going 100 miles per hour.  Sure, it is the holiday season.  I am working on building my business and making more contacts.  I am researching, meeting with people, and writing curriculum for classes in January.  I must have too much on my mind.  Remmy was sniffing the wind.  So, I sniffed.  I smelled bread from the bakery 3 miles away.  I watched Remmy’s ears flicker so I listened.  I heard traffic.  A lot of traffic!  Strange, I would never guess that there were so many cars on the road at this hour.

I realized that Remmy can just be.  She is not thinking; she is not feeling.  She is just being in the moment.  Buddha would be proud of her, but not proud of me. I had monkey mind.  Going like a crazy monkey.  I know many exercises and techniques to slow it down; to relax my body but, nothing was working at all this am.  So I decided to be like Remmy and just be.

Looking at the beautiful sparkly stars on this dark night, I wondered if I was on the right path.  I decided to enjoy the wind and the cool air.  I took a few deep breaths.  I calmed down.  All of a sudden I felt a wave of love.  It was not even a wave; it was as if I was enveloped in a full on huge hug.  Such a joyous hug, filled with love, and grace.  My entire being expanded and joined the night.  I felt such joy and love that tears came to my eyes.  All I could say was “thank you, thank you, thank you.”  My body tingled and electricity flowed through me.  It was not warm or cold – it was perfect.  It was love.  I smiled.  I laughed.  I felt like I did not deserve this beautiful grace that had been bestowed upon me.  But, I knew it was for me and I DO deserve it.

I have felt this grace a few other times in my life.  I cannot imagine feeling it constantly.  I wish I could, but I am not sure I can handle being in such openness.  I want to feel this more often.  I felt connected to all of the good in the world, the universe.

Just sitting on that lounge chair, staring up at the stars.  Being.  Is that all there is?  Being?  Is that what I need to do more often? Just Be.  I wish that you feel this wonderful joy this holiday season.  Try to just be even if it is for a few minutes.

Lori blog

#cantsleep  #incrediblejoy  #bliss #justbe


Never Worry Again!

thankfulHurricane Irma really took a toll on Florida.  Not only was there physical damage, there was emotional damage.  Most people do not like change and evacuation was quite a change.  Many people in Florida are still reacting to these changes even though the hurricane happened in September.  Many of us worried for over a week before they hurricane hit.  Many of us worried while we were evacuated and while the hurricane hit.    Strangely enough, many of us are still worrying and feeling strange after we realized that we don’t have much damage and all was safe.  Many of us worry too much.  We worry before, during and after the event.  Recently, I learned how never to worry again.  I would like to share this technique with you.

First, the event will happen and we will react to the event in one way or another.  It is up to us if we will worry.  These are separate actions; reacting to an event and worrying.  Let me give an example of Jane.  Jane worries about not having enough money to pay all of her bills on time.  This is the worry.  Jane is doing everything she can do to get money to pay all of her bills.  She has a good job, she sells cosmetics on the side, and she has always paid her bills on time.  Jane pays her bills but her expenses keep going up.  This is the event.

Next, Jane will continue to work and pay her bills.  She will do her best to get money whether she worries or not.  Now, how does she not worry?  Jane uses this technique.  Picture standing on a square with three squares to your right and three squares to your left.  You are in the middle – in neutral.  When we start to worry we move to the first square to the left.  Jane thinks, “I am so worried that I can’t pay my bills.  My expenses keep going up and I have only so much money that I have been bringing in.  I am doing my best but what if I can’t pay a bill?” Then, she takes another step to the left to the next square and thinks, “If I can’t pay my bills, I will lose my house, I will go bankrupt, I will have to move in with my parents.”  If she worries even more she moves to the last square on the left and thinks, “I can’t live with my parents.  I will have to move out and I will be homeless, I won’t have health care and I will get sick and die.”  Huge worry.  The end.  NOW, consider moving to the right instead.  Instead of worry, she thinks, “Even though I only get so much income from work my business can pick up and I can sell more cosmetics.  I can start paying off some credit card bills.” Then she takes another step to the right and thinks, “I paid off all of my credit cards and I am now saving money!  I have so much money in my checking account and savings account.  I can now pay all of my bills electronically and never have to worry about physically paying a bill again!”  Then another step to the right and thinks, “I now have so much money that I go on exotic vacations, I love my job and just got a raise!  I am the diamond queen status in my cosmetics job and I win free trips.  All is great!”

Finally, the event will happen but you do not have to worry.  You will work and pay your bills – the event.  But, if you went to the right and tell yourself the more and more positive stories you feel better!  Go ahead and try it for yourself.  You really will feel better!  Now, when I first tried this I thought, “this is crazy, because I think positively does not mean that my bills will be paid!” That is correct but remember, the event is different than the worry.  You will still do everything you can for the event.  It is up to you what you THINK about the event.  So, think the positive and feel better and keep doing the best you can.  Events will happen whether you worry or not.  So, why go down the path to the left when you can think positively and feel so much better?  The event will happen either way and you will do your best if you worry or do not worry.  So, don’t worry.  Use this technique and never worry again.

This technique took me some time to “perfect”.  I worked at it.  When I started to worry I would use this technique and I did feel better.  I still did the event.  I still worked my hardest at whatever I did.  Now, when I find my thoughts move to the negative and start to worry, I quickly stop my thoughts and switch them to the right and more positive thoughts.  I try to move myself all the way to the right until I laugh at the wonderful feeling and the exaggeration of that thought.  I feel better, not worried.  Try this technique, let me know if it works for you.

#worry  #emotionalintelligence  #cooltechniques

Lori blog







Hurricane Irma: a lesson in Flexibility

irma misses sarasotajpg

Everyone I know in Florida, including myself, has still not returned to “normal”.  Between the Hurricane Harvey, media, and people in the “north”, Floridians have had a most interesting experience.  This occurrence has tested our flexibility.  Flexibility is a dimension of Emotional intelligence which is so important in our personal and professional lives. Enjoy my story as I relate how emotional intelligence specifically, flexibility, plays a part in our lives daily or in this case in emergencies.

First, Hurricane Harvey devastated Houston in what it seemed to be over night.  The aftermath lasted weeks.  When Floridians realized that IRMA was headed our way most visualized our house surrounded in water, our possessions strewn all over our neighborhood.  I realized that this threat was real, on Tuesday, September 5th when I was in a meeting and one of the participants told all of us, “Irma is now a 5”.  This means that a Category 5 hurricane was heading right for Florida – we were told Miami at this time.  When I arrived home and started working, my son called and told me that they cancelled classes at the University of Miami indefinitely.  He was going to get gas, pack and evacuate to my house on the other side of the state. I was excited that I get to see him for an unplanned trip.  Yes, this type of flexibility I absolutely love, like a gift.  I always love to spend time with my 20-year-old son.  The next call I got was from a Miami gas station, “The lines are really long, I’ve been in line for over 20 minutes, it is so crowded here – everyone is getting gas, NO WAY!  Someone just hit my car – I’ve got to go”.  He is not usually very flexible and called me about every hour to report his progress.  He NEVER calls except for his weekly Sunday mom call.  Usually I get a cryptic text.  He was not harmed and his car was just bumped; seven hours later he was at my house.  This is usually a 3.5-hour drive.  Once here, he made himself at home.  We were not too worried about the Hurricane coming to the west coast of Florida.

Next, the media was giving IRMA 1oo% coverage.  Floridians were watching the spaghetti tracks of possible paths of the hurricane with eyes glued to their screens.  We saw the devastating effects of IRMA on the first islands in the Caribbean.  We heard the weather reporters and meteorologists exaggerated forecasts of what would (not could) happen to Florida.  Miami was being evacuated.  Most of my son’s friends live out of state and had already booked last minute flights home.  I-95, the interstate that goes from the Florida Keys to Maine, was bumper to bumper in Florida.  Then they evacuated the keys.  I-95 was a parking lot from Key West to North Carolina.  People were evacuating to “visit” friends and family out of state.  It was Wednesday, we put our hurricane shutters on all the windows except the sliding glass door to the pool.  I took all of my furniture and huge plants (including 3 palm trees in pots) off of the huge Lanai and into the house and garage.  The house was like a cave; a jungle cave.  The media told us that we were in the “cone” and everyone in the cone would experience terrifying and damaging winds and rain.  We were not in an evacuation zone but right next to one.  I started to pack for evacuation to my best friend’s house in South Carolina.  Now, this is where judgement and flexibility comes to play; what should I pack?  I packed everything in my safe, my computer and my jewels into a plastic container.  I put my taxes and important documents in my washing machine.  I started to put bags of water into the freezer in case we lost power.  I was almost ready to go until my boyfriend and I talked to our neighbors.  The hurricane was not going to come near us and we would get winds, we have shutters and we should not flood. They had reservations at a hotel in Atlanta but decided not to go that night and would probably stay.  We saw on the radar that the track was headed to South Carolina where we were planning to go.  We decided to stay.

The next day I went to the store and got more food.  I heard tales on the news and from many neighbors that all of the grocery stores were completely out of bottled water, a necessity for after a hurricane.  Some of the gas stations near us were out of gas.  Luckily, I had filled up the day my son came home.  When I was in Walmart I saw one woman with 2 cases of water and realized there was a line for water.  The line was from one end of the store to the other end; I stood in that line.  It moved quickly because Walmart employees were tossing 2 cases in each cart as customers rolled on to get other supplies.  SCORE!  I got 2 cases of water.  I also got my normal shopping complete and got extra batteries, wine and ice cream.  Better enjoy our last days.  Now that our decision to stay was made we hunkered down.  Many of my neighbors were leaving.  School was closed, work was closed, the local government was closed.  We watched the TV news like we were addicted. I was very flexible because I had time.  If I felt stressed for time I think I would not have been able to be so flexible to stand in a long line for water or wait for gas.  I realized that flexibility also has to do with managing time.  I am more flexible when I have the time to choose an option I normally would not choose.  If I was short on time I would not be as flexible and possibly not choose another option.

Finally, the non-Floridians were texting, Facebook was filled with “be safe” messages.  I even heard from one friend that I had not communicated with in over 2 years.  It seemed like everyone not in the path was also watching the hype and urging us to evacuate.  We figured we were just fine until my boyfriend, Angel, noticed the radar.  Most Floridians look at the radar app on their phones to check out the ever changing weather in Florida; our house is symbolized by a blue dot.  When we looked Friday, there was a red circle with a 3 on the blue dot.  The track had changed and IRMA was going to hit our house with category 3 winds.  We decided at 8:00am to evacuate.  “Let’s be ready to go by noon”, Angel said to me.  “No! Everyone on the west coast will be leaving at noon.  I can be ready in less than an hour”.  We threw some clothes, and a toothbrush in a suit case, packed up the dog food, her crate and packed the car.

Now, this you may think is total flexibility!  However, when I reflected back I realized that I was already prepared.  I had already packed the important possessions.  Preparedness, has a lot to do with flexibility.  When we are prepared it is easier to be flexible.

We realized that most of our neighbors had already left including our next door neighbors, we assumed they went to Atlanta as previously planned.  We stopped at my parent’s house on the way to try to talk them into leaving with us.  They live north west of us about an hour.  They stubbornly told us that they had weathered 3 hurricanes 10 years ago and they were staying plus they were not happy that their flight to Costa Rica out of Ft. Lauderdale was cancelled.  Is stubbornness a trait of being inflexible?

We took the fastest route to South Carolina.  Yes, my best friend, Carol had to be flexible too.  First we are evacuating, then not, then we are.  She thought this was a great time to plan “game night”.  This was a good lesson in flexibility for Carol. We did not take the “shortest” route because all of the west coast Floridians were headed north on I-75.  There were rumors of empty gas stations and traffic.  We used our google maps (again, being prepared) and headed east to I-95 most of the east coast had already evacuated. Driving east on 95 we saw many cherry pickers and power trucks heading south.  The Keys were in Irma’s direct path; Miami still was not safe.  While in the car I was posting photos of our evacuation on social media.  Many people seemed relieved that we decided to leave the impending doom.

Weeks after the hurricane most Floridians still feel a bit lost. I feel like a newly retired Floridian, not knowing what day it is (because of the cancellations of school and work).  I lost jobs because everything was closed or the power was out.  As I reflect on the Irma experience, I realize that flexibility is a must in these types of situations.  My experience was not bad compared to most.  Sure, I was inconvenienced by the lack of gas, rumors, and the traffic.  My family, including my aunt and uncle on Marco Island all made it home and are repairing the minor damages.  My son is back at school, boyfriend back at work and I flew to DC to work.  Most in the keys had all of their possessions lost or ruined.  Flexibility is key in these types of situations. We learn from past experiences such as Harvey, listen and are influenced by the media and our friends and family.  I realized that being more flexible is easier when you view a change as a gift, have time on your side, are prepared, and not stubborn.  Hopefully, you enjoyed this blog article.  Feel free to comment on your experience with flexibility.





#hurricane  #irma #flexibility #emotionalintelligence

Lori blog

“Don’t you EVER think before you speak”?

business people conflict working problem, angry boss argue scream to colleague businessmen and women serious argument negative emotion discussing report meeting at outdoors cafe during the lunch breakAll of my life my mother has always asked me this question.  It was only after I took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) training at OKA that I realized why I was programed to speak with out “thinking”.  Actually, I speak to think – I am an extrovert.  My sister, Kelly, it the opposite.  She thinks to speak.  Learning about the differences in how people think to communicate has helped me with my coaching and training throughout the years.  It has also helped me in my relationships that are one-to-one.

Kelly, my sister, has been called shy, quiet and a loner.  She once tried to go through an entire week of high school without talking to anyone.  She succeeded.  I could not get through my first hour class in high school not talking, even with strep throat and laryngitis.  We have been so different in our communication styles since birth.  This is just how we were made.  Now, as adults we are more blended.  I do think more before I speak and she is more of a talker in her small group of friends (that she has had for ten years).

Introverts need to think about what they are going to say, how they are going to say it and how it will resonate with their audience; they think then talk.  Like Kelly, they are not what I call sharers.  Kelly would not share anything about herself without being asked by someone close to her.  If asked she may need to think about the answer…pause… wait… then maybe offer something.  Maybe not offer anything, or say, “I’m not sure”.  This was frustrating to me growing up.  But, the more she and I talked, the more she trusted me and the more she would open up to me.  I just thought that she did not think as quickly as I thought.  That she was slower – not as smart.  But, I knew that I was wrong.  I knew Kelly was very smart and knew the answers.  She just would not share her answer until she felt comfortable in her head, in her thoughts.

My first advisor for my dissertation committee was an introvert.  I would go into his office full of ideas and plans.  As he sat behind his Mac I would talk and talk about my latest theory or ask question after question.  I would answer most of them myself because he just sat there.  I would get so frustrated because when I really NEEDED an answer I would wait.  He would tap some keys on his keyboard, look to the ceiling, and take a deep breath.  I would wait. I would get impatient and ask another question.  I am sure that I frustrated him.  Later, I learned that if I waited long enough he would come up with an excellent answer.  I had to switch my advisor because I was not patient enough or educated enough in MBTI to realize that he was an introvert.  Finally, I figured out that if I emailed him a question he would email back an awesome response in a day or two (sometimes a week later).  I learned how to be more patient and how to work with this introvert.

Extroverts talk to think.  I had never heard that saying before I took the MBTI class.  It resonated with me.  I brainstorm with friends, on the telephone, in person, whenever I can talk to people.  When no one is available, I talk to myself.  Yes.  I do.  I always joked that at least I knew I was talking to an intelligent person.  Ha!  I love to take a concept or thought or idea and ping pong it around with someone.  My best friend, Carol, is also an extrovert.  She and I can play with an idea for hours.  The idea is like a shuttlecock being swooshed from racquet to racquet.  We bat the idea around and it morphs into a ping pong ball, then a baseball then… you name it!  We can play with an idea until it forms something that we are both satisfied with…the outcome of the conversation.

I am sure that Kelly and my advisor would be so frustrated with me during our conversations.  I know I had been frustrated with them.  I have been told on many occasions to just “shut up”, that I talk too much, and ask too many questions.  Talking to them was like “pulling teeth”; painful and bloody awful.  But, after years, I finally learned how to communicate with my introvert friends and colleagues.

Knowing these difference is so important in business, training and coaching.  I have learned some techniques to work with both groups at the same time.  During meetings, I ask people a question and have them write it down then give 5 minutes of quiet so we can individually work on it.  Or I prepare an agenda with roles assigned so everyone knows what is expected of them, and they can be prepared.  Then, I do some brainstorming.  I find that the extroverts jump in and ping pong the ideas around.  When the introverts are asked, they usually read what they have written.  I think that is just fine and all can participate that way.  During training, I have journaling, individual exercises, or reflection.  I also create discussion activities but give time for the introverts to respond.  Coaching introverts is more difficult for me but I have learned through practice to wait…wait…wait for the answer.  Or send pre-work and be ready to discuss it during our sessions.

Learning the differences between speaking before thinking and speaking to think has helped me with my communication in my work.  I hope that this blog post has given you some techniques and insight about the differences in communication styles.  Let me know if you have techniques to share for coaching, training or meetings.


#MBTI #extrovert #introvert #communication  #training


Open Heart Breathing – a great exercise to bring joy and healing

open heart breathingThey say that what does not kill you makes you stronger.  After time has passed, I am now inclined to agree.  When my heart was broken years ago I felt so vulnerable.  I was crying in the bathroom at work.  Sobbing from a broken heart.  It took me a few months to heal my broken heart.  Now, I can look back on that time and realize what I did to make myself feel better and how I healed.  One very important technique that I just started doing, I call open heart breathing.  I share this little secret with my coaching clients and it seems to help.

He broke up with me and would not even talk to me.  I was devastated.  We had been in a relationship for five years and I thought it would end on good terms.  I guess it did for him but not for me.  I thought I would see him when I was visiting Florida but he said “NO!”.  My soul sister and fellow race car driver, Kay Rongely invited me to visit her house in Lake Placid, Florida.  While she went to the grocery store, I took a walk near water and a park-like area in her neighborhood.  As I was walking, I felt the crying coming on again so I let it rip.  I cried as I walked; so glad that her neighbors seemed not to be outside at that time.  Tears streamed down my face and I felt so alone and so sad.  I did feel “weight” on my shoulders even though I was in the best shape of my life.  I felt heavy and burdened with my sorrow and my pain.  I felt empty or whatever was inside of me was not “good”.  Usually, I have an good disposition; positive and happy.  I usually smile and share my joy with other people.  Not now.  It seemed not any longer.

I looked up to the sky and put my arms over my head.  “God”, I thought, “Please give me some good feeling – some goodness inside of me”.  I pulled my arms in toward my heart as if capturing the goodness from the heavens and pouring it into my body.  I felt a little better.  Next, I breathed out what I imagined to be “bad stuff”; my pain, my sorrow, my tears.  As I breathed out I took my hands from my heart and pushed them down, my hands palms down to the ground.  Again, I reached my arms up and breathed in all of the goodness, love and joy and pulled it to my heart.  And breathed out all of the bad moving my arms down.  I actually felt physically and emotionally better.  I felt like the good was coming back into me if only for that moment.

Then, I made a deal with God.  I promised that I would take this joy and this love that I was feeling from “taking” and I would use it to heal.  Then when I was healed, I would give my joy and love back into the world/heaven.  I would breathe it back into the air so other people can take it to heal.  That was over 10 years ago.

I have since healed and now during my walks through the forests/woods or walks on the beach you will see me with my arms out stretched up to the sky.  I am giving joy, love and peace to the world as I breathe it out of my soul.  It is a different method than when I was so sad and needed the good for my own healing.  Now, I breathe in all of my joy and love into my heart; I feel the energy fill up my lungs with joy and love.  Then, I raise my arms to the sky and breathe it out into the world.  I imagine all of the good that I feel in my heart shoot out into the world.  You see, I have healed.  I feel love.  I feel loved.  I love myself and all that is.  I want to share that love with those who need it, just as I needed it on my walk in Lake Placid.

I call it open heart breathing because I feel that I am opening my heart and sharing all of my good feelings, joy and love.  I take my hands from my heart and fling them out over my head “shooting” all of the goodness into the air.  As I touch my heart with both hands and breathe in I imagine all of my joy and goodness ballooning in my lungs and heart.  I “open” my heart as I throw all of my goodness into the world in the hopes that someone will use this good energy for their healing as I did years ago.

So, please use this tool, exercise, whatever you wish to call it to help yourself, your clients or your friends.  If they need open heart breathing for healing or if they wish to share their goodness with the world.  Both types work.  Many of my client say it works to make them happier.  When we finish coaching and I ask what helped you, what do you remember that worked?  Many of them say the Open-heart breathing.  It seems to have a very quick, immediate effect and it lasts for a while because you can do it anywhere.

Do you have techniques that you use similar to open heart breathing?  Please comment so that we can continue to share the good energy and help those who need to heal.

#coaching  #love #joy #emotionalintelligence  #healing