• The New Normal

    This morning I asked the girls … “Hey girls, what do you think I should write about today?” Elinor turned to me and said, “Write about normalcy. I keep thinking that when I go back to New York, life will not be the way it was before I left. I used to walk to work every morning and I’d see familiar faces, the same young people walking to work too. Some of us will not have jobs by the time we get back and how is that going to play out? And, what about some of my favorite places? Will they survive? How is the new normal going to be? I have no idea.” I have to admit, although this idea of life not returning to what it used to be has been on my mind too, hearing my daughter say it out loud, made me pause. The girls are at the very beginning of their adult life, a life that will be defined by this pandemic. The decisions that people my age have made…

  • Working From Home

    I don’t know about working from home, she said. I don’t know if I can be as productive. It’s going to be an adjustment. We spoke the day she found out that her office would be closing for two weeks, because of the coronavirus epidemic, and she would have to work from home. Hearing her apprehension made me realize how challenging it must be to start working from home, not because of choice, but because you have to. Not only that, but you’re asked to work from home because of an epidemic, during a time of chaos, confusion, and uncertainty. When I decided to leave corporate, launch my coaching practice, and work mostly from home, I did it because I wanted to be there for my girls. It was a choice that I made willingly and happily. This is not the case these days, as people are asked to practice Social Distancing, change their daily routine, cancel travel plans, remain vigilant, and self-protect against a contagion. Anxiety, fear, and stress are escalating with each News…

  • Work is What We Do Not What We Are

    Years ago, while at a networking event, I met these two guys who were account executives for MCI, a phone company of the past. We were introduced during the meet-and-greet session and they asked what I was doing. They were curious. Back then being a life coach was still new. They were both married and had young children. They asked many questions and at some point we got talking about being available to our clients. I told them that I kept a clear boundary between family and work time. After all, my corporate days were fresh in my mind and I wasn’t going to repeat the same mistake. Their response was fascinating. They both smiled, with an air of clear superiority and pride. One of them said (while the other one was nodding in agreement) : “My family knows that clients come first. My cell phone is with me at all times. A client calls, I answer.” Then he proceeded to ask me: “How can you not be available 24/7? What if someone needs you?”…

  • Saying No and Meaning It!

    I never thought I had a problem saying no until I had kids. Along the way, I realized that my kids were born to not take no for an answer. It looked familiar . . . did they get that one from me? Nah!! It must have been a long lost relative or something. One could argue that not taking no for an answer is a good thing.  It may even be one of the keys to success. Yet, knowing when to take no for an answer is also a sign of wisdom and respect. Perseverance and stubbornness are two sides of the same coin. One is good, the other foolish! I was venting to a friend one day when she turned and asked me: “Is there anything in the way you say no that makes it feel like maybe?” It was as if a lightning bolt had hit. My friend was right. No matter what, I went soft inside after I said no. Not only that, but when I sat down to reflect, I…

  • A Season of Renewal

    Spring is a time of transition and renewal. Rituals of clearing winter clutter and making room for growth are associated with the onset of warm weather. De-cluttering has always been one of my favorite mental health exercises. If you have ever taken the time to go through your files and get rid of all the paperwork you have collected throughout the years, you can relate to what I’m saying. Clearing emotional as well as physical clutter, gives one the sense of lightness and renewed energy and enthusiasm. Where to start? Choose one area of your life that has been in the forefront of your mind. What would you like done? Are you fed up with how much paper is piled on top of your desk? Program a timer for 10-15 minutes, choose a pile and go through it. Recycle what you can, discard what you don’t want, and do something about the rest. Don’t think too much, just go through it. Is your filing cabinet overflowing? Don’t look at the whole thing unless you’re ready…

  • Simplify

    “Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life lies in eliminating the non-essentials.” Chinese Proverb. Living in balance is not about having a myriad balls in the air and doing all you can to not drop any. That’s not balance, that’s juggling. It’s like running uphill hoping your legs won’t give while you’re running out of breath. To achieve balance, one has to be willing to drop some balls. It requires clarity and the willingness to put what’s really important ahead of the non essentials. To be clear of what essential is, we need to get to know ourselves. We need to be honest with ourselves and identify the activities that support as well as those that undermine our sense of well being. It takes no time for things to creep into our daily life and our schedule. That’s why it’s important to review and revise constantly. By keeping a watchful eye, setting clear boundaries and eliminating the non-essentials, we ensure that…

  • The Art of Pausing

    “He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed.” Albert Einstein The more I work with people the more I see how caught up we are in an unforgiving pace of being. The art of pausing is lost in our to-do lists. We’ve all had the experience of going through a day and not having a moment to breathe. Even the language we use to describe a day like this, is quite revealing. We say: “I didn’t get the chance to breathe today” or “What a day! I’m out of breath.” How can that be? How can we go through a day without breathing? How does it feel to go through a day at high speed? Some of the physical symptoms can include anxiety, a sense of not being able to take a deep breath, exhaustion, headache. Emotions can range from annoyance to agitation and resentment. Our ability to focus and be truly effective, is compromised. We may find it difficult to…

  • More Thoughts on Procrastination

    Procrastination is a fact of life! Whether it’s the piles of paper on your desk waiting to be dealt with, the phone call you dread returning, or the doctor appointment you avoid making, there are seven basic reasons for procrastination. 1. You don’t like the nature of the task and you consider it a waste of  time. The task maybe boring or time consuming and you just don’t want to do it! Figure out what it is you don’t like about the task or the project. Think of alternative ways of dealing with it. Delegate it, ask for help, or find a way to get it off your plate once and for all. If all else fails, break the task into smaller steps, schedule time to tackle each step at a time, and reward yourself for completing the cycle. Find a way to motivate yourself and make it interesting. 2. You’re afraid of the outcome. Consider the possibility that you may be afraid of what it means to complete this project. Is there something that’s…

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