Thinking about Change and Purpose


I just can’t understand how a person would never consider why they are on this earth.  Since I was a young girl I have always wondered, “Why am I here? What is my purpose in life. I’ve read so many self-help books… How to find your purpose in life.  What is your mission in this universe?  Why are you here?  I was amazed when I spoke to a friend and she told me that she never wondered about any of these questions.

One beautiful spring day in the Washington, DC area, I was sitting on my deck writing in my journal. In was in my mid thirties and still contemplating my mission in life.  Then, I heard it clear as day – in my head.  You’re only here to help. For some reason, I was truly disappointed that I was not here to solve the world’s problems, cure cancer, or do something to help all of humanity.  ONLY here to help.

Even so, I continued to set goals, to get better at my profession.  To be a better person ala Ben Franklin.  I journaled, I read, I learned about how to win friends, get rich, make a difference in the world. I changed, evolved, and transformed.  I volunteered, I donated, I listened. I thought that allpeople in the world wanted to know more about themselves so that they can be better at what they do best in order to help the world become a better place.

Why would I think this crazy idea?  I hear the news.  People do things that are immoral, illegal, and unethical all of the time.  Some people are just out for fortune or fame. Lyrics to popular songs send horrible messages.  There is a drug epidemic because people are depressed, anxious, and can’t cope with life. There is so much self-medication with alcohol, food, retail therapy, etc.

Some people think they can’t change.  Some people don’t even try to change.  Some people do not even consider that they would ever want to change for the better. I can’t even imagine not reflecting about my life.  I hope it is not because I am self-absorbed.  I aspire to think that it is because I want to find out what I do best and do my best to help the world.  I just want to find my place to make the world better.  And when I say the world, I mean maybe just my little piece of the pie.  People I meet.  People that I get to know.  People that I love.   NOTE: After reading this paragraph again I counted the number of times the word “I” was written (13?)

Finally, I embraced my purpose of being “only here to help”.  Have your embraced yor purpose? Do you want to learn more about yourself?  Do you hope to find out what you do best and why you do things?  Do you wish to learn more in order to make yourself a better person?  To live a more purposeful and intentional life in order to help those who you love?  Why are we here?  How do we help other people?  How to we transform to get better?  What is better?

How do we win at this game called life?  Do we needto win?  Do we want to win or just hope to be?  We are human be-ings.  Maybe we shouldjust be.  I am not sure I can just be.  I know I can be me.  At least I know who I am, what my values are, what I believe, what I love.  And I am still learning more about myself.  I enjoy challenging myself.

I think about these questions most of the time.  How can I do better?  What can I do to help others?  Where am I supposed to go next?  How can I figure out a job where I can use my experience, knowledge and wisdom to help other people do what they wish to do best?  How to I help other people love better?  How do I help other people learn more about themselves so they can figure out how they can help the world?  I think that is what this world is about.  We were put here for a reason.  People come in and out of our life for a reason, both good and bad circumstances happen for a reason.  The reason? I think it is to learn and grow. Maybe life is about learning, growing, and loving.

Maybe each of us can figure out how to adjust to our circumstances in life with grace and kindness. Not just adjust to our situations, but to make the best out of all that we encounter.  We should strive to make each interaction a loving, peaceful, and respectful moment.  My wish is that we start with self compassion and then help other people in our own unique way.  What is your purpose?  What is your passion?

#questions  #self-awareness  #emotionalintelligence  #lifelonglearning

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What is refreaving?


I was a military brat for 13 years from birth.  Dad was a marine and we were never in one state for more than 2 or 3 years.  That made it difficult to keep friends and I was not one to write letters or think of relationships at that young age.  I went to high school and college in Michigan after he got out of the military, but as soon as I had my degrees I quickly moved some place warmer, the Washington, DC area.  I moved around the DC area from Maryland to DC to Virginia.  My husband, then an FBI agent, was at the whim of his “military”.  We moved to the Dallas, Texas area for 3 years then back to headquarters in DC. I now live in Florida. I’ve lived in a lot of states.

When people ask me where I’m from, I tell them the United States because I have no “home town.” Most people can say they are from somewhere.  Many of my friends had the opportunity to live in one place and now have friends that they have known since they were born.

How am I so lucky to have friends that I can talk to like we just talked yesterday?  Even if it had been more than ten or fifteen years between? Susan McDonald1 calls this a “picking up where we left off” lifetime kind of friendship.

Larry, my dear friend from Texas, emailed that he will be in town for 24 hours.  I had not seen him in over 10 years and of course, I said “Come on Down!”  When he walked in the door, I gave him a big hug and we talked like he was just here yesterday.  We had both gotten “blonder” hair but, still had our back and forth banter.  This is when I realized that I have quite a few friends where I can “pick up where we left off”.  In fact, I knew that Larry would be the perfect person to help me figure out a word for this concept.

We went back and forth on the word “re-connecting”, but this concept of “picking up right where we left off” encompasses more than connecting. In fact, we didn’t even need to connect at all.  The connection was already there.  Then, there was the idea of time or the lack of time passing.   He called it “time losing its length.”  We decided that there is no word for this, so he and I floated many ideas in the air between us.  It is amazing how Larry and I, two extraverts, can actually “see” ideas “floating” in the space between us.  Fortunately, for me, I have a few friends with whom I “bat around ideas.” But, that is a subject for another blog.

The two of us decided that soldering and bonding were good words but we landed on weaving.  Friendships are woven and we can keep weaving new material into the tapestry of our friendship.  So, we settled on friendship and weaving…Freaving.  But, we still needed to add the concept of “time losing its length” and meeting again.  Refreaving is what we decided to call our new word.

Refreave is the new word to use to stand for the “picking up where we left off” in a relationship after much time has passed.  It can be used in many different instances.  For example, my friend Robbin and I see each other about once a year, at one point it had been over 10 years.  We seldom talk on the phone or text but when we do see each other, we experience refreaving. See?  This word describes the concept in only one word and not an entire phrase.  Larry and I talked about how we refreaved on his trip to Florida.

Is there another word to express this concept or have we created a new word?  I challenge you to find that one word or to jump on the bus to new word creation!  The young adults and teens of today are creating all kinds of new words.  I was “on fleek” the other day – or was it just my eye brows?  How about “buddymoon?”  This describes a honeymoon to which the married couple’s friends are invited. And we can’t forget all of the words made up because of technology such as:  google, laptop, flash drive, cell phone, iPad, PowerPoint, email, and many others.

Let me know some other words that are brand new.  Share a concept or idea that needs a new word.  Let’s get going!





YET Mindset

I believe - seagull

As most of you know I am a goal setter.  I set goals in December/January for the entire year. Last year I set too many goals, but this year I have only 4.  I help employees learn about SMART goals and daily tasks.  I thought I had adequate knowledge and skills in this part of my life but, my son recently taught me about “yet” goals or the Yet mindset.

“Teaching” runs in my family.  My mom taught grades 1 – 5 for her working life.  I love to help adults learn and have 35 years of education and experience in the adult learning profession.  This is my life’s passion.  My son, Mick, will graduate from the University of Miami with a degree in Music Education and a teaching certificate. He will soon be teaching music/band to high school (or middle school) students this next academic year (September).

When Mick came home on Winter break we had a discussion about teaching and what are good practices for adults and for middle schoolers.  He and I have a lot in common about our interests to help people learn. I love to learn what new ideas he gets from his professors so I can possibly apply them to my audience.  They say that pedagogy, the art and science of teaching children is based on different theories than andragogy, the art and science of helping adults learn.  But, I have realized that at times both sets of theories may work on high schoolers or adults.

For example, when Mick was 4-years old he got a bike for his birthday, it came with training wheels. He wanted them to come off when he was 5-years old.  He tried to ride the bike with no training wheels and he failed time after time – that day. He kept saying, “I can’t ride a bike!”  Young Mick decided he will not ride this bike. When he turned 10-years old all of his buddies were riding bikes and he thought he should be able to ride.  He got a “big boy bike” and it had no training wheels.  I remember taking Mick to the local park and assisted him in learning how to ride that bike. I was so afraid when he went down the hill on a back road filled with rocks.  But, by the end of the hour he was riding like the other kids.  He could ride a bike.

A YET mindset is used when a person is in the situation of 5-year old Mick.  He thinks he cannot ride a bike.  He says, “I can’t do this at all” or “I will never be good at this!” Or “I can’t do it.”  A good teacher would use the YET mindset to say, “You can’t do it…YET.”  This is a true statement and helps the person realize that they need to practice and try again.  It does take time to learn how to do anything.  Young Mick was used to things coming easy to him.  School was easy, music was easy, talking to adults was easy. He liked doing what he was best at accomplishing.  He used his talents and his strengths.  However, when he came across a challenge such as riding a bike, he gave up because it was difficult.

Instead of pushing him, I waited until he was ready.  Of course, I never got the How to Raise a Perfect Child Handbook.  I wish I had known about the YET mindset at that time. Mick also told me to use this mindset in these ways:

  1. Be thankful for something you have not finished YET!
  2. If you have not done it —-Yet
  3. I you don’t know how to do it —Yet

As Mick works with his students, he notices that at times they are negative and say, “I can’t play that song.  It is too difficult.”  He replies with, “You can’t play that song…YET.”  Mick then tells them that he too needed years to practice to get as good as he is now.  He reminds them that playing the saxophone will be possible with effort and time.

As any good researcher and educator, I looked up “yet” goals on google.  I found nothing except SMART goals. Sure, there were articles with yet in the title but nothing on Yet goals.  I had to go back to the source – Mick.  He told me that this was a theory he learned in one of his Music Education classes or a Teaching ESOL class.  The term was not “yet” as he described it to me but, the Growth Mindset vs the Fixed (or static) Mindset.  This idea of the Growth vs Fixed mindset is based upon the research of Carol Dweck, Stanford University.  This theory describes the beliefs people have about learning, intelligence, and motivation. For example, when students are positive and believe they can do the task, they understand that they need to put in the time and effort. This leads to higher achievement in school and in life. In her new updated book,Mindset: the New Psychology of Success; how we can learn to fulfill our potential (2007),she describes the two different mindsets and how educators (teachers) can use this theory to change the mindsets of students from static or fixed to a growth mindset. I have not heard of her mindset research before Mick told me recently.  It reminds me of a positive vs a negative mindset but more specific to learning.

mindset Dwack

Mindset graphic

I use a positive mindset with myself and my coaching clients.  I keep our discussions positive, and have used appreciative intelligence/Inquiry methodsfor solving issues.   Usually, this method is used for change management for organizations, but I’ve used it for problem solving at an individual level. I believe these positive mindset theories help in keeping adults motivated and determined to learn.

How do you use positive mindset in your business?  Please let me know by commenting.

#mindset  #motivation  #self-development




Dog Fight brings about Adult Learning

remmy crop

Christmas morning would never be the same. I woke up before my early-bird husband, brushed my teeth, took a shower, got dressed, and quietly opened the bedroom door. Angel, my husband, is always awake before I even think of opening an eye, so this morning I planned to make him a great breakfast.  We planned  to be at my sister’s house for Christmas day around noon!  But first, I had to take the dog outside for her walk or shall I say visitation.

Our dog Remmy was rescued from Nate’s Honor Rescue.  The nice folks at Nates called me a foster-failure, because I was only supposed to foster Remmy for a week until their flood receded.  My son and neice decided that Remmy was such a great social dog that we had to keep her. I fell in love with her and so did Angel.  So, foster-failure it is!

Everyone was Remmy’s friend. She loved to sniff all of the other neighborhood dogs and even had play-dates with her to girlfriends on the corner.  They have a fenced-in yard and all three dogs play, run, and wear themselves out! Remmy wants to visit everyone and sniff everything that sometimes she doesn’t have time to do her business.  Most of our neighbors have dogs and even the ones who do not, love Remmy and give her dog treats.

So back to Christmas morning.  I put on my flip-flops, my hat and sunglasses, put Remmy on her leash, and walked out the front door.  Immediately we saw Jerry walking Ozzie, his little furry mutt.  We tease that Ozzie is Remmy’s boyfriend.  They are always on the leash as they greet each other by sniffing then ignoring.  Remmy really likes Jerry; she knows that humans usually have dog biscuits! We saw Shirley walking with her two mops Harlee the party dog and Lilly.  Harlee is on a leash but Lilly does not need one.

As Shirley walk up to us, both Jerry and I did what we always do. We moved so all of the dogs could greet each other.  Remmy got a bit tangled in Ozzie’s leash as she went to say hello to Harlee.  Then all of a sudden, Remmy started growling – she never growls unless she is in the pool area and smells Racoon!  I pulled her back as she started pulling harder on the leash making wild dog sounds.  Somehow, I fell onto the driveway and dropped her leash.  She went after Harlee and bit his collar around his neck and shook him like he was a rag dog.  Both of my neighbors just stood there in shock.  I jumped up and grabbed Remmy by her bandana (her Christmas treat). I pulled her away and hit her. “Bad dog, sit!”  She did sit but she would rather not.  I calmed her down and asked Shirley if Harlee was OK. Harlee was wearing a large leather harness that covered most of his neck and back.  He was OK.  But we weren’t.  I quickly put Remmy in the house and went back to the scene of the crime.

Shirley said that she was happy that nothing happened to hurt anyone because everything is closed for Christmas. Jerry thought that Remmy was being territorial. I was just shocked that after having Remmy for almost 2 years that she would suddenly attack a dog that she has always known.  Then Shirley asked if I was hurt.  I looked down and my foot was bleeding and I had scraped my knee and hand.  I didn’t feel anything…yet.  I said good-bye and went into the house.

I put on a couple of band aids and thought “if Angel had been there that would not have happened.” He treats Remmy like a dog.  Angel is the Alpha and that is the end.  He says that I love her too much.  I decided that Remmy needed to go to dog training. We never took her when we got her because she was already a great dog.  She could walk on a leash and listened to us most of the time.  Why did she do that?  She was such a bad dog.  She needs training!

Then I took a breath and decided that I needed to go to dog training.  It was my fault that I did not control my dog.  Yes, that was totally out of character for her, but it was my fault.  It took me a while to realize and re-frame my thoughts.  I needed training.

Training.  One of my favorite adult learning theorists and Malcolm Knowles’s mentor, Eduard Lindeman (1885-1953) defined adult education as “a co-operative venture in non-authoritarian, informal learning – the chief purpose of which is to discover the meaning of experience” (as cited in Brookfield, 1987, p. 122).  Well, I need to discover the meaning of that dog fight experience with other dog owners and a trainer.

I am a life long learner. In fact, I am going to become certified by Lumina Learning on three assessment tools in January.  I am looking forward to learning more about my field and being up to date on the latest assessments and tools.  But, dog obedience school? I have researched different types.  One trainer takes your dog for 2 or 3 weeks and when you get them home – boom – they are trained.  Another comes to your house twice a week for two months of training.  Can we say expensive? I want to go to a good dog training class with a lot of other people and dogs.  I’ve seen them in parks.  Those cute little puppies being “trained”, running all over the course, with their people calling “Marcos, Spotify, Tiffany, Zoe.”  Chaos, but fun to watch.

Remmy and I need to find this special type of training and sign up.  I also need to change my mindset.  I have started by saying, this is my fault, I have to take the blame. At first I was blaming the weather, the fireworks, and my dog.  Mindset can be difficult to change.  I needed to work on my words first.  I need to reframe my mindset.  I get to go to dog training with Remmy.  I need to learn how to control my animal.  Coach Sheri Kaye Hoff blogs often about managing your mindset.  I have learned a lot from her and I will put this into action!


I love to snuggle my pointer mix.  She is so cute and loves being petted.   She even loves the pool, her lounge chair, and a bath.  She does not sit on the furniture in the house, however, she can sleep on my son’s bed when he is home. She has 3 plush doggy beds around the house.  One of the beds is in my office where she is resting right now.  After her walk and breakfast I say to her, “Let’s go to work” and she bounces up the stairs to the office and sits on her bed.  She never fails to snuggle me at least once an hour so I can get out of my seat and stretch.

My dog needs me and I need her.  I will master my mindset, accept the responsibility, and take action to schedule a doggy obedience class.  But, it will be “doggie and me” training.

Let me know if you need a change of mindset or have gone to doggie training recently.  I’d be happy to get new ideas.

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#mindset  #adultlearning  #lifelonglearning  #self-development #training












Who cares what I have to say?

Junger Mann verkündet mit Megafon

I was at a Mexican restaurant in Texas having dinner with my friend Larry. We were catching up on our jobs, families, and our lives since we had not seen each other in over a year.  Larry and I worked together at two different organizations in Texas. Larry and I ate lunch together at least 3 times a week. We were best friends at work. Now, you would call him my work husband and me his work wife.  He taught me much about politics and taking care of yourself in an organization but I taught him something that day.

Our server was a very friendly lady, June, who was telling us the story of her life while bringing chips and diet coke.  Larry and I were having a great conversation but stopped to listen to her each time she was at our table.  She told us about how she was going back to school to get her degree because she got pregnant and couldn’t finish when she “should have.”  Her little girl was now in school and she has time during the day to work and go to school.  June was talking about how tough it was to balance her time and have quality time with her daughter.  Larry and I listened, looked sympathetic, and made the appropriate comments and uh huh sounds in the correct places.  She told us about her challenges but also how she was doing it by herself and not relying on anyone.

When June left the table, Larry asked me why didn’t I say anything to her?  He knew that I just had a baby, had my own business, and was in the middle of getting my Ph.D.  He continued, “You knew exactly what she was going through because you are doing it too. And you are working over 60 hours a week teaching MCSE classes.”  I took a deep breath and told him that I was having a great lunch and relaxing.  Also, the more I learn the more I realize how much I don’t know.  I told Larry that she was telling herstory.  She seemed proud of herself being able to manage everything to accomplish her dream. I didn’t want to rain on her parade. She really didn’t care what I had to say.

At this point Larry asked me, “How do you know that she didn’t care what you had to say?  You could have inspired her or let her know she was not in this alone.  You could have given her advice.”  I simply told him that she never asked us any questions.  He marinated on that for a while then said, “huh”.   We sat quietly, each eating our spicy food, thinking to ourselves.  “My wife does that,” he said, “do you do that to your husband?”  He continued, “I get in trouble because she thinks I interrupt her. She just wants to talk and talk and talk.”  After we laughed for a while I told him that we call it “venting”.  My best friend, Carol, and I give each other the head’s up when we just want to vent.  Then we know not to speak or ask questions, but just give verbal sounds at the right time. When she finishes and asks a question then it is my turn to speak.

Many times people want to talk to be heard, and for no other reason.  I have found through my coaching that when I let people talk and vent that they end up solving their own problems.  During my classes on communication and questioning techniques, I have the participants complete an exercise that I call “Socrates”.  He invented the Socraticmethod.  I have the participants get into pairs. The idea of the exercise is for one person to have an issue, challenge, or problem.  The other person is “Socrates” and must onlyask questions to help the other to solve their issue.  The caveat is that Socrates cannot ask leading questions such as, “Have you tried ____ or “why don’t you ____?”  Then they go for a 20-minute walk.  For the first 10 minutes one person is Socrates and asks questions then they switch.  When they come back into the room I am amazed with the results.  Many times, a challenge that they have had for a while is solved.  They just thought a different way than they had before because of the excellent questions that helped change their perspective.  I am fortunate that I get to use this exercise often because the weather is usually great in Florida (unless it is too hot).  Also, the participants would rather walk in the sunshine than be cooped up in a classroom.

It is an interesting concept to balance talking with listening. Most of us talk more than we listen or we do not really listen with intent.  We seldom use questions to help the other person sharpen their train of thought or to bring up different perspectives. We often ask the question, “have you thought to do it my way?” or we give advice.  In your next conversation I challenge you to wait for the question, so you can be sure that the other person actually wants to hear what you have to say.

Please let me know how this idea works for you.  I am still learning and practicing.

#communications #questions #mindset  #venting





Its’s all about your Mindset

thankfulI had to go to the conference.  I was speaking in a concurrent session.  I was also presenting a scholarship with a sponsor who was flying in from Texas.  But, I knew that some people who were running the conference did not want me to be there.  When I volunteered to help, I was told that I was not needed.  In fact, a very good friend and colleague was told the same thing. She decided not to attend the conference at all.  I was feeling sorry for myself.  I did not feel welcome.  I felt left out and not part of the planning.  Not part of the core group.  Not wanted.

So, I told myself I did not care, I was going to apply the minimum amount of effort and leave the conference early.  After all, I was not wanted.  I would get there later than I usually would and leave right after I spoke. That would work because I was scheduled for the first session after the keynote speaker. I figured I would wing the intro of the scholarship and get it over with as soon as possible.  Then, I would hurry to my room to set up. Speak about the topic and not involve anyone.  In fact, I wouldn’t even spend time updating my presentation.  Then, I could leave by 11am and get home to my dog who appreciates me.

But, that did not happen.

About two weeks before the conference, I spoke with my coach and we talked through the situation.  Yes, I did have a right to feel that way.  I was told that I was not wanted.  I was told that I can’t be a part of the group.   I was sad and felt betrayed.  He told me that anyone would feel the same way. I was justified to feel those feelings.  Then, my positivity kicked in.  That person is not me!  I give 100 percent.  My mission in life is to help others.  “I’m only here to help” is what I found to be my life’s mission.   I realized that I was being selfish.  After all, this was not about me and my woes.  I was put here on earth to help others. And that is what I decided that I would do.  Ignore all of my “poor me” self-talk and concentrate on how I can help anyone that I could.  I would start by forgiving.

Forgiving is an interesting theme.  Some people hold grudges for years.  I have never been one to hold a grudge and that was exactly what I was doing.  So, I forgave those I felt were bullying and betraying me.  That did not do anything to them.  They had no idea I was forgiving them.  They probably had no idea how incredibly hurt I was about the situation. Forgiving is about the person forgiving.  After, I let that go…I felt free.  A weight was lifted from my soul.  I truly did forgive and I felt relief.  I was ready.

I went into the week prepared.  I called all of the people to set up the scholarship presentation.  The scholarship sponsor was so generous and I wanted her to have the best experience at the conference.  I prepared for my presentation and my session with the audience in mind.  I followed up with a lovely woman who graciously sponsored a gift in the raffle.  I did this all with love in mind.

There were not many people at the conference when I arrived early.  I was happy; feeling good, and excited about how many opportunities there would be to help others.   I recognized my scholarship sponsor immediately when she walked into the main room.  She was also a bit nervous and excited to present the scholarship and tell the audience about her business.  We had five minutes right before the key note speaker.  Of course not everything was perfect.  She had overnighted a gift for all attendees and I noticed that they were not in the S.W.A.G.* bags.  Everyone was helpful and the staff at the location went out of their way to help me find the gift that my kind sponsor had donated.   In fact, they gave it to me five minutes before I was about to be introduced.  I ran to the person I knew would help me get them on the tables for the audience because I knew my sponsor was going to talk about them in a few moments.  As I ran back to the table, I was introduced to come to the stage.  Whew!  All was good.

I introduced the sponsor of the scholarship with a bit of nervousness, but did the best I could, hopefully my toastmaster training came in handy.  She got to mention her business and noted the gift for all of the audience.  She happily introduced the winner of the scholarship.  The winner was very proud, happy, and smiling as photos were taken.  My sponsor had an excellent experience and she was also very pleased.  Whew!

When I facilitated my session there was a lot of interaction.  The attendees got grand ideas.  They wrote their action plan on large post it flip charts.  When I finished, I told them that they got to take home a valuable parting gift…their flip charts.  That would motivate them to take action and make their dream a reality.  They all thanked me and said they got a lot from the session.  I was very happy that I made a difference.

At lunch I made plans to sit with another sponsor who I had never met in person.  We hit it off like we were old friends.  She identified another person in her company who I had also spoken to but had never met because she lives in Ohio.  She asked me to follow up with her because I may be able to help her. (Aside — I did and it was amazing!) My sponsor and I talked too much at lunch, but still made time to introduce ourselves to others at the table.  This was excellent because one of the women at our table won the books that my sponsor had donated in the raffle.  I followed up later and got pictures of her with the books to send to everyone.

I attended other sessions, met people, even finding four people who needed to be connected.  I ran into a woman I worked for recently and we made plans to meet again so I could assist her with a project.  I heard some gossip about the people who I felt had betrayed me and decided to ignore it.  I was in an excellent mindset.  There were people to meet and to help.  All in all it was a great conference.

The best part of the day was that I texted a a friend who lives in Tampa near the conference.  She was available, so we met for happy hour and dinner.  I briefly told her about the conference, but we spent most of our time talking about her family and mine.

Because I made a conscious effort to change my mindset, the day was wonderful instead of miserable.  I had my signature positive attitude and connected others who could help each other.  What could have been a disaster turned out to be a master experience for everyone.

Is there something in your life that you need to reframe?


*S.W.A.G. stands for… Stuff We All Get





How do you challenge yourself to change? (MBTI Thinking vs Feeling; stretching my preferences)


I decided to intentionally do something different.  I have been going to the ATD International Conference and Expo for about 12 years and this year I changed my game plan.  Usually, during the conference, I would decide what I needed to learn for the coming year and plan my sessions and expo accordingly.  I would plan which topics I would like to see and which sponsor or company in the expo I would like to visit.  I am very task oriented and I have always known that I am an MBTI “T” or Thinking preference.  Very seldom do I use my “F” or feeling preference.  During MBTI training sessions I have the participants write and sign their name.  Next, I have them switch hands and do the same task.  Every single time, no matter what group I am facilitating, I hear groans and comments like, “You have to be kidding”.  They tell me that they feel awkward, weird, uncomfortable and other negative messages.  I knew that I would probably feel these feelings switching my preference from task to people for this week.  When I was younger I would make decisions based on the task and not even consider the people involved.  As I grew older and more experienced, I realized that I need to consider people as I make decisions.  Relationships have grown more important to me as compared to the task, as I have become more experienced and older.  So, I chose to intentionally concentrate on relationships as I attended the conference. I based my decisions on people instead of the task and experienced an entirely new dimension of this conference.

I had made plans to have dinner on Saturday night with Caitlyn, my former intern 12 years ago. We had connected at the previous two conferences and spent Cinco de Mayo together.  This year I thought she would get us reservations at a Mexican restaurant in San Diego.  She left me a text – an address on 5thStreet at 7:30 pm (sounded Italian).  I thought that was great until I realized when I got there that I was exhausted and it was 10:30pm EST for both of us. We greeted each other with big hugs and remembered to take a photo this time.  We talked and caught up because we seldom talk throughout the year.  I remember that she did email me about some budget info and I responded.  She is now a director of training and I am so proud of how far she has come.  I always called her the Phenom (short for phenomenal). We ate like tired zombies and hugged good bye hoping we would run into each other at the conference.

I decided only to see the sessions where my friends were speaking.  I wanted to support them, pack their audience and give them good feedback on the evaluation forms.  I also decided to spend my nights going to dinner with friends instead of going to the vendor sponsored party nights as I would in the past.  Also, I only went to the booths at the expo where I knew my friends were promoting their businesses or an organization or product that was very important to them.  This indeed would be a different type of experience.

Sunday, I started by attending the CPLP session.  I knew that I would find many of my friends in this session.  Yes, I was right.  I saw so many of my CPLP buddies.  Darcy, Denise, John, Cathy; too many to name.  My friend Cathy from Ft. Lauderdale looked great and told me some health advice about my thyroid issue.  I even saw a person, Roberto, that I knew via video but had never met in person.  Roberto answered one of the questions during the presentation, I immediately looked for him after the program but he left early, so I talked to the speaker.   I had met her before at a previous conference, but she did not remember our brief encounter.  This time, I told her that I had started a new business and she gave me her card and offered me one of her books on marketing (for free).  I was very happy not only had I connected with a biggie in my field but she will be sending me a few of her books (signed!!). After this event I made my way to Chapter Leader Day.  I had promised Erin, our ALC PAC ATD leader that I would talk about ALC. Of course, I jumped right up and did what I was supposed to do.  I saw my chapter president and was thrilled to meet up with her and one other person from my chapter, Keri. Deborah, my speaking buddy, and I were giving a presentation on Tuesday.  I connected with Bernadette, the volunteer coordinator for next year’s conference, to help her prepare for when the conference was in DC next year.  I introduced her to Deborah, who was the volunteer coordinator for ICE last year I Atlanta.  I wanted to help Bernadette as much as I could because I got help from the Dallas people before I was the volunteer coordinator in DC in 2014. Deborah and I dumped our brains for Bernadette so she could get all of our precious tacit knowledge for next year. We also told her that she could contact us anytime she had questions.

Next, Deborah and I went to the speaker room to prepare for our presentation.  We then stopped by Haleley’s presentation on networking and caught toward the end. She was in the middle of an exercise and saw us come in and hugged us.  I wish we had been faster so we could have seen the entire presentation; I was very interested on her take on networking.  When I started my business I had reached out to her and she gave me great tips on how to network so I did not seem like a sleazy sales person.  It was all about building relationships.  I saw her slides and it looked great. I also connected with the lady sitting next to me.  Martha, from Seattle, who filled me in on Halelley’ s entire message.  I then stopped by the bookstore because I saw on FB that Jennifer (JT) Dow was volunteering.  I gave her a hug and hoped to see her later in the week.  She looked great and said she was doing well.  It was so nice to see her and I was surprised that she was not at chapter leader day.  But, she works for herself and volunteered to save money on the conference. The she wanted to see president Obama speak on Monday and was lucky to have been able to have Monday as her free day. It was so good to see her.

After that, I went to John’s presentation on Storytelling.  I sat toward the front and talked to the ladies next to me.  They had just come from another presentation about storytelling by someone named Stephanie. John acknowledged Stephanie’s presentation on the same topic but told us that his was quite different and we would learn something else on top of what we learned at Stephanie’s presentation. John was funny and very informative. I learned something and after the session I went up to him, gave him a hug and congratulated him on a great presentation. I filled out the evaluation favorably.

On my way to my next session, I ran into one of my favorite people Ken Phillips, the Godfather, I gave him a hug and he said, “see you later tonight”.  I totally forgot that he was going to Jeff Toister’s house for dinner! Jeff was too busy to go to the conference this year, plus, his priorities and his business interests are moving in a different direction.  He is recreating himself to be THE customer Service guru – not just the talent development customer service expert.    Jeff picked me up at my hotel then we got Ken and we drove to his beautiful house over looking a cliff or a canyon.  He and his awesome, super smart and talented wife, Sally offered us appetizers and a great bottle of wine from their private collection.  We then drove to their favorite Italian place to eat, similar to the place I used to go in the DC area Osteria Marzano.  We had a great time, laughing, eating and talking until we headed back to the city to go to sleep to prepare for Monday.

Monday I woke up early to stand in line to see Obama.  I made friends with the ladies from Washington State who worked together and we spend about an hour in line.  When we got the the ballroom I split apart from them and sat toward the front.  I did not meet anyone new because we were all listening to Obama’s message about values.  After the session I went back to my hotel to work and finish a proposal. I got back to the conference just in time to go to the chapter leaders room.  I was facilitating a session for higher education for Erin but had a bout an hour beforehand.  I sat and met Stephanie, yes, the storytelling Stephanie.  She had started her business in DC and she had a lot of great information for me.  I will follow up with her when I get home.  She is a great person for me to know.  I would like to follow her path to leadership in the organization.  Next, I met a lot of people in the higher education session that I facilitated.  I helped Erin and she was so generous to give me a gift certificate to the book store. Woo hoo!  Books!!  I love books. I realized that the CPLP networking night was that evening so I made it on time.  I gave a great testimonial as to why CPLP to the camera crew interviewing people.  I got my drink with my drink tickets and sat down by John to catch up.  I was looking for new CPLPs from the study group but I did not recognize anyone and I did not want to seem like a stalker looking at name badges and well… stalking.  I ended up talking to Ken and Jack Phillips (no relation).  They are very interesting and entertaining.  Before I knew it the bar was closed and the networking was over. Ken and I decided to eat together near his hotel and relax.  I love going to dinner with Ken.  We have a habit of spending about 2 -3 hours at dinner and we always split dessert. This evening was no exception. Even though I had just seen him at dinner with the Toister’s the night before this dinner was different.  I was quite tired from waking up early and standing in line for Obama and it was such a pleasure not to have to think during dinner. Having dinner with this old friend was relaxing and comfortable.  I got to bed early that night.  Ken and I both had sessions on Tuesday.

Tuesday, I woke up early to see Marcus Buckingham, as the keynote speaker.  I use his videos (from Youtube) in my trainings.  It was exciting to hear about his new book and be in the 2ndrow sitting next to his staff.  And to top it off, I met Kim, in the ladies’ room.  I remember she was asking about the CPLP and all of my pins.  It was fun to sit next to her and her team.  She told me a bit more about Marcus and working with him.  The pre-presentations went longer than expected and I had to leave to prepare for my session.  I got into the room and set up the computer and visuals before Deborah. She was surprised to see me all set up. We got the “lay of the land” and decided where to stand and how to present.  I knew because we had presented together in 2014, that we would improvise if we needed to change from our plan.  We are both seasoned vets when it comes to presenting/facilitating/speaking. The room was not filling as much as we had hoped when a staff member came in and told us that Marcus Buckingham had gone 10 minutes over and we should start later.  Our session went well and many people came up to us afterwards to get more information and tell us that they learned a lot.  One woman was not higher education but from the department of energy in DC.  She told me that she had never thought to put mentoring in her certificate programs.  I am so glad that she came to the session and got that valuable piece of information from us.  Deborah and I high-fived each other on another great session at ICE and went on our separate journeys toward the expo.

On the way to the expo I saw Jennifer Naughton, formerly of CPLP fame, but now president of her own thriving business.  She realized that she had about 45 minutes so we sat down by the bookstore and caught up. She has always been so nice to me and I remember before I left DC she invited Angel (my husband) and I to her super fantastic condo in Crystal city for dinner.  It was my birthday and she got me a chocolate (my favorite) cake.  I was surprised and touched.  I hoped that she would visit us in Florida.  We talked professionally and personally and caught up on all of our news.  She even told me she “squeaked out loud” when she saw on FB that Angel and I had married. It was so very good to catch up with her.  As we were wrapping up on my way to see Trish’s session with Bob Pike, I ran into Paul Smith who was speaking twice.  He was very busy.  I popped into see the Bob Pike telecast.  This was the first time that anyone had been somewhere else (MN) and remoted in to deliver a session.  Thanks to Trish Uhl, we heard from Bob Pike as he was recovering from surgery.  The session was also translated into 3 languages. It was indeed a hit and made history.

Finally, I wandered to the Expo and saw Alison French at the PerfectCoaches booth.  I also saw Doug and met other people who I knew from PerfectCoaches for the first time.  I got to see the upgrades and have my tarot cards read!  I also stopped by the ATD booth to see Virginia Sawell and Diane Daly to get my hugs.   Tuesday night I was invited to the Excellence awards because I was a rater and got a free ticket.  It was on a Yacht out of San Diego. This awards ceremony is always very nice and I get to see other CPLP friends and ATD buddies.  As I walked back to the hotel from the convention center I felt so cold. I got to my room and took a hot shower, still I felt chills.  I thought to myself, what would happen if I did not go to the ceremony?  I know I would miss catching up with old and close friends, but I realized that I had to take care of my number one relationship – me. I slept a bit then realized that Caitlyn was on FB.  I texted her and asked for a do over for dinner.  We were more awake and went to a great Mexican restaurant in old town, San Diego.  It was wonderful REALLY talking to her.  We had a great time and even got 2 shots of fireball on the house.  I went to be early; truly taking care of myself.

Wednesday morning, I woke up later and walked to the convention center to go to the Expo.  I visited Rich Hazeltine, Berret Kolher looking for Jeevan (but he was not there).  I found Carol Welch at the Lumina Learning booth and she introduced me to Rebecca who will be in St. Pete in December.  I am pretty sure I talked her into having Carol go to that training – so I can see her again.  Carol introduced me to one of her friends Alison.  When Alison heard my name she said, “Lori Ann Roth!  You are Lori Ann Roth!”  I felt famous.  It turns out that my friend Judy Sargent introduced Alison to BrightCoach, Alison Introduced Carol and Carol introduced me.  It was certainly a small world and how in the world had Allison found me in the sea of 10,000 participants.  Miracles happen.  That night my oldest friend in the world, Robbin Kasson Jackson picked me up and drove me to her house in San Diego.  Robbin and I met when we were 6 years old in Hawaii.  We have remained friends via snail mail, long distance phone calls, weddings, visits and Facebook.  We had the most wonderful 2 days of catching up and adventure.  We started by getting “lost”  on a road with cliffs.  We passed green houses, ranches and a rock quarry before the road ended and we had to turn around.  Robbin told me the story about her mother always getting lost but claiming that she never got “lost” she just took a lot of adventures.  It was great to remember her mother this way.  We had dinner at a little Mexican place near her house. I had a burrito for the first time in my life.  A FISH burrito.  They don’t make these on the east coast with mahi mahi.  Yummy.

Thursday, Robbin and I headed to San Clemente to visit Judy Sargent.  She and I had coached together but had never met in person.  A year ago Judy and I were coaching as she was moving into her new house with her husband and 3 little dogs.  She gave me a virtual tour and I always saw FB pictures of glorious sunsets.  I was thrilled to see her little, cozy bungalow on the cliff in person and meet her tiny fur babies.  It turns out that Jennifer Burman was also in town and met us at the restaurant on the pier. We drove to the pier, had a wonderful lunch together.  I wish we could have spent more time with Jennifer and Judy but they had to finish work that day.

Robbin and I then drove to Irvine to see Blake.  He and I had been coaching together for over one year, however, we had never met in person.  Blake chose a great restaurant in an upscale shopping mall.  He eats a paleo diet so the food was very, very fresh and good.  It was so wonderful to meet Blake in person.  We talked about things that we had never talked about online.  He told me about his new girlfriend and his wonderful plans to go to Scotland!

Robbin and I spent that night catching up and talking about our families and the fact that next year will be 50 years since we first met.  It is amazing knowing someone for 50 years!  It always seems like we have never been apart and start talking right away just like when we were 6 years old.  The next day her husband, Scott took a day off so he could visit.  One of the last times that I saw him was their wedding over 25 years ago.  Scott and Robbin took me to Oceanside.  We ate at Rockin Lobster and I had the best seafood burrito ever!!!   We spent time shopping and talking and laughing.  Scott had to go to work that evening; so, Robbin and I spent the evening planning for our 50thAnniversary trip next year. Being with my oldest friend in the world was such a huge treat!

So, what did I learn from changing my preference from thinking to feeling? First, I realized that it was a bit tiring for me to focus on people-planning.  Usually, I don’t even think about connecting and it comes naturally.  But, my word of the year IS “Relationships” and I found this challenge a way to intentionally work on that goal.  I learned that I did not see everyone on my list.  Shernita from GMU, Gabi in San Diego or spend real quality time with more people.  It was a huge challenge but I have to say I did try.

I also believed that this exercise changed some other preferences.  For example, I usually think big picture and not too much in the details.  After reading this blog over again, I realized that it is full of details (hopefully, that did not bore you too much.)  Did my switching one preference make me stressed to change another preference? That is it be debated and decided upon later.

How do you challenge yourself to change your oldie moldy ways?  Do you even try to do things differently?  From my experience, it WAS a challenge, it was fun and it was worth the extra energy. However, I do feel like I failed because I did not meet all of my goals, see all of the people I wanted to see, or have more in-depth conversations with people that I quickly hugged and one of us had to leave.  Try it once with your own goals.  It will give you a new perspective.  One piece of advice, don’t expect to be perfect.  Just do your best with a new way.

Let me know if you had an experience changing the way you do anything, just for the challenge.

#MBTI  #Change #intention  #ATD


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